Google is buying $40 million of smartwatch tech from Fossil
Google appears to still be interested in releasing at least one first-party Wear OS device, as they just agreed to pay $40 million for smartwatch technology from Fossil. Fossil is a well-established name among Wear OS device manufacturers. Their Sport smartwatch was one of the first to feature the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip at the affordable end of the market, while its regular lineup focuses on fashion over tech.
What Google Gets:
According to the press release, Google gets the following for its $40 million:
- Intellectual property “related to a smartwatch technology currently under development by Fossil Group.”
- Some of the research and development employees working for Fossil will transfer to Google.
What seems like the most important takeaway is this: Fossil is developing something new for Wear OS and Google wants a piece of it for themselves. This could eventually manifest itself in a “Pixel Watch” series (which was once on the way, but later put on the back burner in 2018), but for now the details are being kept under wraps. It seems reasonable to conclude that whatever is in the works will be powered by a Snapdragon Wear 3100 with its emphasis on battery life since it was just announced last September and new processors come much more slowly for Wear OS than for Android.
According to Wareable’s quote of Greg McKelvey, EVP and chief strategy and digital officer of the Fossil Group, the new Wear OS device(s) will feature technology developed on top of Fossil’s $260 million acquisition of Misfit. He was also quoted by Wareable as saying the following:
It’s based on something out of our timeline, it’s new to the market technology and we think it’s a product that has features and benefits that aren’t in the category today.
It’s anyone’s guess what this portends, but according to Wareable, Google’s VP of Product Management of Wear OS, Stacey Burr, said this technology would also be available to Google’s Wear OS manufacturing partners. That could mean the technology in question will primarily be software-based and not necessarily particular to a “Pixel Watch” lineup.