Google’s going all-in for its quest to construct an Apple Watch different for Android. After a number of days of rumors, the corporate has formally introduced it’s buying Fitbit, the fifth-largest wearable maker, for $2.1 billion.
“By working carefully with Fitbit’s crew of specialists, and bringing collectively the most effective A.I., software program, and , we may also help spur innovation in wearables and construct merchandise to learn much more folks around the globe.” Rick Osterloh, Google’s chief, wrote in a weblog put up.
The announcement doesn’t share any specifics on why Google made one other wearable-focused acquisition in lower than a yr, however assures present Fitbit customers it gained’t misuse their knowledge for commercials.
In January, Google spent $40 million to purchase a chunk of smartwatch tech and some researchers from Fossil. To not overlook that Google can even have entry to the mental property Fitbit introduced in when it purchased Pebble in 2016.
If in case you have been protecting rely, this implies Google’s and Android division are actually confronted with the problem of integrating a gazillion completely different groups (don’t overlook Google’s $1.1 billion HTC buy in 2018) below the identical roof. That may clarify why we didn’t see the much-rumored Pixel Watch at Google’s October Pixel occasion.
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Over the previous couple of years, Google has tried and largely did not construct a reliable smartwatch ecosystem, whereas Apple has perfected its and left the remainder of the business within the mud. And there’s a great purpose for why, regardless of its unprecedented developments in software program, Google merely couldn’t replicate Apple Watch’s success: vertical integration and the results of creating a brand new product from scratch in-house.
It’s the identical issue that additionally allows iPhones to really feel a lot extra cohesive than every other Android cellphone. By merely filling the holes in its hole with new acquisitions, Google continues to misconceive the thought of vertical integration. That can solely make issues worse for Google. As a substitute of a well-oiled collaboration of and software program, Google has ended up with a mishmash of groups, sources, and ideologies.
Extra importantly, it’s tough to visualise how Fitbit will are available and save the day for Google’s WearOS. Fitbit hasn’t itself been ready to determine smartwatches and fulfill customers exterior the well being circle. Certain, it’s well-versed within the health division however is that WearOS’s greatest fear in the mean time?
Except Google has plans to deliver these properties on board and return to the drafting board for getting everybody on the identical web page and balancing this extremely uneven equation, it has a herculean job up forward.
Google’s most obtrusive shortcoming is the absence of a processor that’s succesful sufficient to easily run all of the high-end smartwatch skills with out killing the watch in a handful of hours. Qualcomm is rumored to launch a brand new one quickly however if you’re coping with a tool as cramped as a watch, there will likely be a number of bumps.
Samsung got here to phrases with that years in the past and ditched WearOS in favor of its personal smartwatch working system. However after a few rocky releases, its newest Galaxy Lively 2 smartwatch has emerged as a no brainer for Android customers. Let me rephrase that: The most effective Android smartwatch at this time has basically zero Google affect, apps, or providers. Samsung gave up Google’s software program chops and its big app ecosystem in order that it might produce a smartwatch that’s no less than half pretty much as good as Apple’s and consider it or not, it has largely succeeded.
The Fitbit deal gained’t be accomplished till subsequent yr. Subsequently, it’s secure to say Google’s large funding gained’t come to fruition no less than in 2020. Google could also be on the correct path right here and Fitbit does have loads to supply. Nonetheless, how these corporations execute all of it will stay key on the finish. It’s doubtless Google finally ends up pivoting away from smartwatches fully and focuses on exercise trackers which if performed proper, will attain much more arms and in the end, yield much more quantity of knowledge.