On November 1, Google paid $2.1 billion to get Fitbit, among the most widely known physical fitness tracker brand names on the planet. Could this indicate we’’ ll lastly see a real Apple Watch rival? Something with Fitbit’’ s normally exceptional hardware and Google’’ s clever software application? That ’ s the hope.

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On the surface area the purchase makes good sense. Google makes an os for smartwatches called Wear OS, however it doesn ’ t make the hardware itself, leaving that to third-party makers. Android, another Google os, followed this exact same design for tablets and phones. In the last few years, the Silicon Valley giant has actually launched flagship hardware under the name Pixel to display what its os can do. We’’ ve seen 4 generations of Pixel Phones, 2 generations of Pixelbooks, yet no Pixel Watch. It’’ s most likely that this acquisition will alter that.

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Of course, we ’ ve been tricked prior to. In January, the tech business purchased a few of Fossil’’ s smartwatch innovation and worked with a few of the engineers who developed it. The relocation triggered speculation that we would lastly see a Pixel Watch, with a Fossil body and a Google brain. It has yet to emerge. An main declaration relating to the Fitbit buyout appears to suggest that is the objective of this purchase:

““ Over the years, Google has actually made development with partners in this area with Wear OS and Google Fit ,” ” states Google ’ s Rick Osterloh, senior vice president of Devices and Services. ““ But we see a chance to invest much more in Wear OS along with present Made by Google wearable gadgets into the marketplace.””

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Motorola, Fossil, Casio, Polar, and lots of other business currently make watches that run Wear OS. While a few of them are respectable, I would stop brief of calling any of them terrific, and I’’ ve evaluated lots. As an os, Wear OS is relatively user-friendly. It deals with any mobile phone, consisting of the iPhone. It likewise does a strong task of showing alerts, visits, and fitness and health information, provides you a 2nd map to glimpse at, and even permits you to respond rapidly to e-mails and messages. When makers begin including their own software application on top of it, things get wonky. Redundancies and bugs turn up, and the user experience suffers. The concept of a Pixel Watch would be to lastly see Wear OS’’ s real capacity, with software and hardware developed in tandem. This is what you receive from the Apple Watch , and the experience is more cohesive.

Wear OS does have some benefits over Apple’’ s innovation. Initially referred to as Android Wear, it introduced in March 2014 and had more than a 1 year head-start over Apple Watch. It’’ s likewise cross-platform, working well with both androids and iphones, while the Apple Watch works solely with the iPhone. None of that appears to matter much. Apple presently has 36 percent of the smartwatch market share. Samsung remains in the second slot with 11 percent. Fitbit, in contrast, has simply 5.5 percent.

What Fitbit does have, however, is 28 million active users , a number which grew by 2.2 million from the previous year, and a 12-year history of offering more than 100 million gadgets. (By contrast, Apple Watch apparently has 55 million active users.) Apple might make the very best and most common smartwatch, however if somebody sees a health- and fitness-tracking band on your wrist, they’’ ll presume that it’’ s a Fitbit. On the other hand, many people out there have actually never ever become aware of Wear OS. That another advantage of the acquistion.

Fitbit stands to get a lot here, too. While its smartwatches have actually been improving, they’’ re still on the easy side. What Google does, probably much better than any other business, is Artificial Intelligence. Everyone’’ s become aware of Apple ’ s Siri. Couple of individuals are on a first-name basis with Google Assistant, which leaves Siri in the dust. It’’ s much better at comprehending conversational speech, in addition to context. That’’ s actually crucial when we’’ re discussing a gadget with a screen that’’ s normally around a half and an inch. The less time you invest squinting at it and prodding the small text with your huge sausage fingers, the much better. That appears to be what Fitbit is hoping for.

““ With Google ’ s resources and worldwide platform, Fitbit will have the ability to speed up development in the wearables classification , scale quicker, and make health much more available to everybody,” ” states James Park, Fitbit’’ s co-founder and CEO, in the business’’ s main declaration .

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The huge concern on a great deal of individuals ’ s minds is: “ What the hell is Google going to make with allof my health information ? ” The compay is an international leader in dishing out advertisements based upon the myriad individual info it gathers though the services you most likely depend on every day( Gmail, Google Maps, YouTube, and Google Search to call simply a couple of). It appears both business prepared for these warranted issues, and both provided declarations in their acquisition statements.

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Fitbit is particularly specific about it: “ Fitbit will continue to put users in control of their information and will stay transparent about the information it gathers and why.The business never ever offers individual details, and Fitbit health and health information will not be utilized for Google advertisements. ”

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Google ’ s declaration echoed that, however included, “ And we will provide Fitbit users the option to examine, move, or erase their information. ” Basically, if you currently trust Google withall of your other intimate little bits of information, this doesn ’ t appear anymore dangerous. By the exact same token, that will do little to mollify those who wear ’ t trust Google.

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Of course, this might still fail. The purchase still needs to be authorized by both business ’ boards. Huge business like Google are likewise under increasing analysis from regulators around allegations of monopoly, and there ’ s more talk than ever about separating huge tech business. That stated, I believe it ’ s most likely that this will go the method of Nest, which the business gotten in 2014 and has actually considering that relabelled Google Nest. Opportunities are we ’ ll see a Google Fitbit (or Fitbit by Google) watch at some point in the foreseeable future. Here ’ s hoping it takes the very best of both business and lastly makes it into a cohesive smartwatch that might supply a little competitors for Apple Watch.

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