Google is the new owner of Fitbit, the company that has become the household name when it comes to smartwatches and fitness tracking devices. This can be seen to be a whole new push for Google into a whole new hardware segment where it has had zero presence so far.
Google has had no direct involvement in the wearable hardware segment. It provided the OS support though in the form of the Wear OS to anyone who wished to launch a wearable. That, in turn, led to the launch of several smartwatches too, notably from Samsung as well as a host of Chinese companies though none could make a mark as say, the Android smartphones.
That makes the deal significant on several counts, apart from the fact of course that it is worth a cool $2.1 billion. First off, this will help fulfill any ambition that the Mountain View company may have, and which is quite reasonable for Google to nurture, to field a direct competitor to the likes of the Apple Watch. The latter has emerged the device to beat in the segment even after being a late entrant to the party.
With the extensive expertise, Fitbit has acquired over the years in developing smartwatches as well as fitness trackers, those no doubt can prove handy for Google to delve into the smartwatch business as well. That does make it quite reasonable to expect something of the likes of a Pixel smartwatch next.
Fitbit also offers a range of wearables that stretch almost the entire price band, from the super affordable Fitbit Inspire HR with a sub-$100 price to the Fitbit Iconic that commands a $250 price tag. That again may not fit the Google Pixel theme that caters to the elite class; but then, Fitbit sure has enough expertise for Google tap into to come up with a smartwatch that would be worthy of the Pixel branding.
Yet another reason that might have prompted Google to acquire Fitbit is the huge user info that the wearable maker already has under its belt. That no doubt is a treasure trove of health info and is just the sort of thing that Google will need to push ahead with its wearable ambitions.
The Mountain View company anyway thrives on user info which again fuels its biggest revenue grosser, advertisement business. This alone makes the user-health records with Fitment sort of a goldmine that Google can tap into. The company has also been according to a lot of importance to the burgeoning wearable segment as a whole, and the wellness segment in particular.
Google has been promoting the development of new apps aimed at the fitness freaks, which includes ways to track one’s activities to the sort of things they need to consume to lead to good health. Google has also been working with the WHO and its affiliates to better devise apps and features to provide the most realistic and authentic guidance to its users to attain optimum health conditions.
Such development activities no doubt requires a huge amount of credible user info which is exactly what Google needs to devise apps that can cater to the widest user segment, while also delivering optimum results as well. Being into business for years and with all the reputation it has built over the years, Fitbit surely has much to lend to Google as the latter hopes to drive its wearable business to the next level.
Yet another segment that has also caught the fancy of most organizations and which too requires a huge amount of user data is AI. And Google already is spending billions to further its own AI dreams. All of this does not rule out the application of AI methodologies in the health and fitness segment as well while drawing the huge hardware expertise Fitbit has as well as the amount of user data it has acquired over the years.
While a Pixel Watch seems the most plausible outcome that tech enthusiasts look forward to at the moment, the possibilities seem endless now with Fitbit coming under the fold of Google. Fitbit knows a thing or two about making smartwatches and fitness trackers while remaining profitable as well. Google, on the other hand, has extensive expertise in the field of software and has a thriving ecosystem based on it.
All of this makes it interesting to see what comes out from the changed world order where one of the largest wearable makers has merged into one of the biggest tech companies that alone has unequivocal dominance of the smartphone segment among many other segments as well. Also, let’s hope Fitbit does not end up being another Motorola for the company, the thriving smartphone company that Google bought but later sold off to Lenovo at just a fraction of what it was bought for.