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Fossil strikes smartwatch tech deal with Google

The Fossil Group is the most important manufacturer of smartwatches with Wear OS. Now Google is buying technology from the Texans. This does not mean, however, that Fossil is no longer building smartwatches - quite the contrary.

For $40 million, the Fossil Group has sold parts of its smartwatch technology business to Google. The package includes patents and processes as well as manpower, with part of the smartwatch development team moving from Fossil to Google. The whole thing is somewhat reminiscent of the 2017 deal between Google and HTC, albeit to a much lesser extent and probably with fewer negative impacts on the selling party which, in this case, is Fossil.

“Wearables, built for wellness, simplicity, personalization and helpfulness, have the opportunity to improve lives by bringing users the information and insights they need quickly, at a glance. The addition of Fossil Group’s technology and team to Google demonstrates our commitment to the wearables industry by enabling a diverse portfolio of smartwatches and supporting the ever-evolving needs of the vitality-seeking, on-the-go consumer,” said Stacey Burr, Vice President of Product Management, Wear OS by Google.

“Fossil Group has experienced significant success in its wearables business by focusing on product design and development informed by our strong understanding of consumers’ needs and style preferences,” said Greg McKelvey, Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer, Fossil Group. “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."

So the Fossil Group will continue to build smartwatches using the technologies that have now been sold to Google. The exact terms of the license agreement are not known. The deal is due to take effect at the end of the month.

Will Google release a Pixel Watch?

The deal with the Fossil Group brings up a topic that smartwatch fans have been preoccupied with for a long time: when will a Made by Google Pixel Watch come out? It is quite possible that Google will now actually do it, and present its own smartwatch. A good time for this would be the Google I/O developer conference, for which a date for 2019 has not yet been fixed. We expect it to be at the beginning of May, though. Hardware usually plays a minor role at this show, but with its smartwatches, Google could attract more attention than it would at its annual Pixel event in October - where a smartwatch would probably be overshadowed by the company's next generation of smartphones.

Do you use a smartwatch? And are you satisfied with it?

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