News, Smartwatch, Wearable

Google Acquires Fitbit for RM8.7 Billion; Made by Google Wearables in the Horizon

This was only a rumour earlier this week, but lo and behold, it is now official: Google is buying Fitbit for a whopping $2.1 billion, which comes up to about RM8.7 billion. With this acquisition, Google will have the resources it needs to enter the wearable market.

Previously, Google’s role in the wearable market was limited to the software side of things with its Wear OS platform. But now that it owns Fitbit, the search giant can now release its own wearable hardware too. It may not be that long before we start seeing smartwatches and fitness bands with Google’s very own branding.

According to the Google’s Senior Vice President of devices and services, Rick Osterloh, the Fitbit acquisition will allow the company to “invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.”

But what about existing Fitbit users? How will this affect them? Well, both Google and Fitbit assure these users that their health and wellness data obtained by Fitbit will not be used for Google ads. Google also elaborated that existing Fitbit users “will be given the choice to review, move, or delete their data.”

Given Google’s continued push to move beyond providing software for smartphones and wearables, its acquisition of Fitbit isn’t all that surprising. After all, it took over a part of HTC’s smartphone team just two years ago to further bolster the development of its Pixel phones. That particular deal seems to be going relatively well for the company, especially with the release of the Pixel 3A and Pixel 4.

Then again, it remains to be seen just how Google’s purchase of Fitbit will benefit Wear OS in the long run; a smartwatch platform that has been largely ignored for the past couple of years. While there’s still a lack of new Wear OS devices in the market, Apple is making strides with its Apple Watches, Samsung has its own Tizen-based smartwatches, and heck, even Fitbit itself doesn’t use Wear OS.

Hopefully, Google’s acquisition of Fitbit will see even better Wear OS offerings in the near future. If that’s the case, Android – and even iOS – users will have even more options when it comes to smartwatches, which should make the wearable market that much more competitive.