O Google confirmed the rumors and announced this Friday (1st) that closed a deal to buy the wearables manufacturer Fitbit. The acquisition, which was valued at $ 2.1 billion, aims to strengthen the Wear OS ecosystem and launch new wearable devices under the Google brand.
Fitbit has no presence in Brazil, but it is the fourth largest manufacturer of wearables in the world, according to IDC, in addition to being a pioneer in the segment. The company has already been a market leader and, in recent years, has lost space to Apple in smartwatches and to Xiaomi in low-cost smartbands. In 2016, Fitbit bought Pebble for $ 23 million (and then killed it).
At the official announcement, Google says the purchase of Fitbit is an “opportunity to invest even more in Wear OS, as well as launch wearable Made by Google devices”, as is already the case with Pixel phones, Pixelbook laptops and the Nest line. Fitbit employees will work with Google on software, hardware and artificial intelligence to develop new wearables.
Google makes it clear that “Fitbit’s health and wellness data will not be used for Google ads”, and that it will be transparent about the information it will collect from users. In addition, Fitbit users will be able to choose to analyze, move or delete their data from Google servers. Fitbit promise which will continue to support both Android and iOS.
The Fitbit platform has 28 million active users worldwide, the result of more than 100 million devices sold. The brand’s latest product is the Fitbit Versa 2, a $ 199.95 smartwatch with Alexa voice commands, sleep monitoring, heart rate and exercise (including swimming), Fitbit Pay payment system and third-party apps, like Spotify and Strava.
On the Google side, the purchase may be another attempt to leverage Wear OS (formerly Android Wear), which was never exactly a success. In the North American market, the only smartwatch brand with Wear OS among the top five is Fossil – which lost share between 2018 and 2019, according to Canalys, lagging behind Apple, Fitbit, Samsung and Garmin.
The purchase of Fitbit by Google needs to pass the approval of shareholders and regulators, and should be completed in 2020.