It looks as though Google is starting to get serious [again] about its Wear OS and the smartwatches that use the operating system. The Fossil Group announced today that Google is purchasing $40 million worth of intellectual property that pertains to its [in-development] smartwatch technology.
Fossil is one the most prominent manufacturers of Wear OS smartwatches, and sells a number of different styles ranging in price from $250 to around $350.
In addition to its IP, Fossil says that Google has also acquired a portion of its R&D team. However, Fossil still has over 200 R&D team members that will continue to advance both the software and hardware side of its smartwatch operations.
“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, Fossil Group's Executive Vice President and Chief Strategy and Digital Officer. “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."
For its part, Stacey Burr, Google's Vice President of Product Management for Wear OS, told Wareable, "We're very optimistic about the future of smartwatches and the role for Google, Wear OS and our partners within that evolving space. This is a very vital category and we will continue to invest and be part of this dynamic ecosystem."
Although neither company went into detail on what this IP entails, Google's mission is to spread the technology to as many of its hardware partners as quickly as possible. This is likely an effort to give Wear OS more ammunition to fight back against the Apple Watch, which has been gaining considerable traction in the smartwatch market, and is currently the best-selling entry into the field.