Google will pay watch-maker Fossil $40 million for intellectual property rights to smartwatch technology that hasn’t been launched in the market, Wareable reported on Thursday, 17 January.
The deal will also see a part of Fossil's R&D team join Google.
The partnership will amount to a "new product innovation that has not yet hit the market," the report said.
Fossil Group’s Executive Vice President, and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Greg McKelvey, told Wareable that the product line will be based on technology that Fossil had developed after acquisition of wearable maker MisFit in 2015. Fossil had acquired Misfit for a reported $260 million in 2015, The Verge reported.
With rumours of a Pixel Watch doing the rounds, this could be an indicator that Google is serious about penetrating the smartwatch market.
“We saw some technology that they (Fossil) 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, Google Wear OS, reported Wareable
Burr’s statement also hinted that Fossil was working on some health and wellness-focused technology. According to The Verge, Fossil has been Google’s most consistent and long-term hardware partner since the WearOS software was named Android Wear and Google was looking for partners to help it rival Apple.
However, the deal also gives birth to speculations about the technology – what exactly is the tech that a giant like Google is taking from a watch company?
We already know that Fossil has some of the best Hybrid smartwatches, which have a few features of a smartwatch, but look like a standard digital/analog wrist watch.
Although the deal is believed to be finalised this month, there is no word on when the final product of this ‘transaction’ will be seen. The new technology will be available to all of Google’s existing and future partners.
“We’ve built and advanced a technology that has the potential to improve upon our existing platform of smartwatches. Together with Google, our innovation partner, we’ll continue to unlock growth in wearables.”Greg Mckelvey, Executive Vice President, Fossil
This deal could make Google's prospects in the smartwatch segment better, especially as rival Apple has already claimed the sector.