Google may be preparing to wage a wearables war against the Apple Watch, but the secret weapon may not be a Pixel Watch. According to Reuters, parent company Alphabet has made a bid to purchase Fitbit and its existing fitness tracking business.
Should the companies reach a deal, Google would at last be inducted into the wearables market. Though WearOS has powered Android watches for some time, Google has yet to join Apple and Samsung in developing in-house hardware designed for maximum compatibility with its flagship smartphone.
While there’s no guarantee Google and Fitbit come to an agreement, there are a number of reasons to believe Reuter’s sources are reliable. Fitbit’s smartwatch sales nosedived last quarter, suggesting its current capabilities aren’t enough to compete with Apple’s stronghold on the wearable market. Fitbit also already partners with Google on monitoring health data through Google Cloud.
In August, Fitbit unveiled its Alexa-enabled Versa 2 smartwatch. As the best smartwatch for sleep tracking, we thought it could pull from Apple’s more fitness-focused customers. But it faced low sales. Partnering with Google on similar, better-integrated devices could interest Pixel 4 and Pixel 4 XL owners, as well as owners of other Android phones.
Fitbit wouldn’t be Google’s first smartwatch acquisition. It bought Fossil’s smartwatch technology for $40 million in January with promises of a groundbreaking collaboration. Though we haven’t seen anything of the like, Fossil does make some of the best WearOS smartwatches, like the Fossil Sport.
Reuter’s sources neither said how much Google offered for Fitbit nor expressed total confidence in the companies reaching a deal. But we imagine this report gives Pixel users a reason to expect their version of the Apple Watch or Samsung Galaxy Watch to appear soon.
Investors sure seem to like this potential move, as Fitbit's stock was up 33 percent as of 2:42 pm ET. But it remains to be seen how well Google would integrate the company. Anyone remember the $12.5 billion Motorola deal?