Google has agreed to pay watchmaker Fossil $40 million to buy its smartwatch technology. Fossil is the most active player in Google’s Wear OS smartwatch ecosystem, continuing to build smartwatches that run Wear OS. Although, Wear OS competes with Apple Watch, it has been struggling to gain mass adoption among consumers.
As part of the deal, Google will now also own a part of Fossil’s R&D team that currently supports the secret technology which neither company has provided much detail about.
Fossil says it will still retain more than 200 of its own R&D employees to focus on innovation and product development.
“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’s EVP and chief strategy and digital officer Greg McKelvey told Wareable that the IP that creates the deal is based around new product innovation that’s entered the market yet. The IP is based on a technology that Fossil acquired as part of its purchase of wearable devices startup Misfit in 2015.
“It’s based on something out of our timeline,” McKelvey said. “It’s new to the market technology and we think it’s a product that has features and benefits that aren’t in the category today,” he added. He stated that, despite the sale, Fossil is still work closely with Google on developing the technology and is planning on launching new devices based on the innovation across its abundance of fashion brands.
Fossil is one of Google’s partners that use Wear OS in their watches. Other big companies using Wear OS are Tag Heuer, LG, and Movado, reports CNBC.
Google hasn’t yet built a smartwatch of its own, but this deal could signal a growing commitment on the company’s part to wearable hardware technology.