Google has just announced that it’s buying wearable company Fitbit for $2.1 billion. The news comes just days after Reuters report, which claimed that Google was in talks to acquire the popular fitness tracker company.
In a blog post announcing the acquisition, Google SVP of devices & services Rick Osterloh said that the Fitbit purchase is “an opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS as well as introduce Made by Google wearable devices into the market.”
According to a separate press release issued by Fitbit, the company will still take privacy for health and fitness data seriously, noting that “Fitbit health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads.”
Google has spent years trying to break into the wearables market with its Wear OS platform, but it’s struggled to make a real impact.
Fitbit, a solid alternative to the Apple Watch’s fitness tracking tech?
Fitbit’s hardware chops have always been great, giving Google a much stronger foundation to build on for future Android-integrated wearables devices.
The company’s strong focus on fitness tracking could naturally be integrated into Google’s existing Google Fit apps, too, offering Google a solid alternative to the Apple Watch’s deep fitness tracking integration with the iPhone.
The acquisition makes a lot of sense
On the other side, Google’s software skills and wide developer support could help Fitbit’s smartwatches like the Versa get a little smarter, alongside the deeper software integration with Android that a closer relationship could offer.
However, the Fitbit purchase isn’t the only recent investment Google’s made into fitness-focused wearables.
Fitbit’s cheapest smartwatch Versa Lite
Fitbit cut its 2019 revenue forecast in July, blaming disappointing sales of its newly launched cheapest smartwatch Versa Lite.
The watch is priced at $160, compared with $200 for the full version. It can track workouts and heart rate but lacks features such as the ability to store music directly.
In August, Fitbit said it had signed a contract with the Singapore government to provide fitness trackers and services in a health program it said could reach up to 1 million users.
It’s not the only recent investment made into fitness-focused wearables by Google
Fitbit is not the first deal that Google is carrying out in the wearables space.
In January, the company spent $40 million to buy some unknown smartwatch technology from Fossil based on tech that Fossil acquired when it bought wearable maker Misfit back in 2015.
However, Google’s plans for these assets are not clear. Reuters had reported last month that Fitbit was speaking to investment bank Qatalyst Partners about exploring a sale.