For years, Google has been struggling to get a strong foothold in the wearables market with its Android Wear platform, later renamed to Wear OS. Despite that, Google has been pushing its smartwatch platform to boutique manufacturers making expensive timepieces. The company has already been collaborating with several of its partners to develop new wearable technologies and make them more accessible to consumers. In a bid to improve the cause, Google has now bought some of Fossil’s R&D team.
Google has acquired a portion of Fossil’s R&D team for a sum of $40 million. The Wareable report states the new team will be responsible for developing Wear OS and possibly work on smartwatch designs as well. The deal also brings access to several under-development technologies that Fossil has been working on for a considerable time. These technologies have been apparently the very ones when Fossil acquired Misfit in 2015.
Greg McKelvey, EVP and chief strategy and digital officer of the Fossil Group, says that their merger with Google’s R&D team will help them roll out a never-before-seen technology in the wearable segment. He said that it’s a “new product innovation that’s not yet hit the market.” He also said that he sees the deal more of as a transaction instead of an acquisition.
“We saw some technology that they were developing that we thought could be brought out in a more expansive way if Google had that technology, and was not only able to continue to use it with Fossil but bring it to other partners in the ecosystem,” Stacey Burr, VP of Product Management of Wear OS said. “It’s about bringing great features to the widest numbers of on-the-go consumers.”
While the details about the technology are still unknown, this surely points towards something that Google isn’t willing to share – development on Google’s own smartwatch. Last year, before the Google Pixel 3 came out, there were speculations about the Pixel smartwatch. However, that was never conceptualised. Google is seriously interested in improving the hardware and with HTC’s R&D team now working on the smartphone side, Google will have a dedicated team to look after the wearables segment and try to give Apple’s Watch a tough fight.