Alphabet has made an offer to buy wearable device maker Fitbit, in what could be the company’s most aggressive move yet to become competitive in the smartwatch industry.
The deal is not certain, according to this article by Reuters, nor could it be learned how much Alphabet offered to acquire the device company, which is worth about $1.4 billion. Nonetheless, Fitbit shares rose 29% after the report.
Alphabet’s Google has become increasingly serious about its hardware business—from its flagship Pixel smartphone to its array of smart speakers—but a “Made by Google” smartwatch has been a glaring omission from its lineup. Google almost unveiled its own smartwatch back in the fall of 2016, but cut the project because of the watch’s aesthetics and compatibility issues with the Pixel phone.
Today, Google licenses its smartwatch software “Wear OS” to watch makers, including Fossil and Tag Heuer, but its list of partners has dwindled over the years. Meanwhile, companies like Apple and Samsung have grown to dominate the market. Perhaps, with an acquisition of Fitbit, Google will be closer to releasing the proprietary smartwatch its users have wanted for years.