One of the biggest pieces of news over the past few weeks has been Google's acquisition of Fitbit, making fitness tracking hardware popular like the Fitbit Versa series of smartwatches. While Google's latest acquisition of hardware is a key step for the company in creating its own wearable devices, it's hard not to be pessimistic about Fitbit's future.
You see, Google's track record when it comes to acquiring hardware companies isn't the greatest. Most companies purchased by Google will fail or simply integrate with other Google brands. The list of hardware acquisitions on Google that runs the test of time is very small.
We have no idea if Fitbit will succeed or fail under Google, but we can get an idea for these opportunities by looking at Google history. Below, you'll find a list of the most prominent hardware acquisitions on Google and what's happening with these companies today.
Google's acquisition of Motorola Mobility in 2011 is probably one of the most popular purchases in the company's history. The deal cost Google $ 12.5 billion, making it still, by far, the largest acquisition of hardware at Google.
Google's intent to buy is multi-faceted. The company wants to control thousands of mobile-related patents on Motorola, in the pursuit of using patents to defend against many Android-related competitors from competitors (most notably Apple). Google also wants to penetrate the smartphone hardware space by introducing high-level entry devices that are specifically implemented in emerging markets. By 2014, Google announced that it would sell Motorola Mobility to Chinese manufacturer Lenovo. That sale earned Google $ 2.91 billion, a small percentage of what it originally paid. Google has made it possible to retain most of Motorola's patents, though.
Buying the entire Motorola smartphone business is not the last time Google has tried to buy its way into the hardware manufacturing business. In 2017, Google announced that it had purchased a large HTC design design and talent research as well as non-exclusive rights to some of HTC's intellectual property. The deal will cost Google $ 1.1 billion.
Google and HTC are working closely together to develop the first Google Pixel smartphone, dating back to 2016. Although Pixel was designed by Google and marketed as a "Made by Google" product, HTC had a massive hand in creating the device.
Related: HTC in 2019: Last chance saloon
HTC's purchase of Google a year later is a strategic maneuver to build future Pixel smartphones without the need of sub-contracting with another company. The Google Pixel 3 – and every other Pixel smartphone ever since – is at least part built by the HTC team that Google bought.
Meanwhile, HTC itself is floundering, probably due in no small part to losing nearly half of its most talented design. and researchers in that sale.
The Nest Labs
Two former Apple engineers started Nest Labs in 2010. In 2011, the first Nest-branded device appeared: the Nest Learning Thermostat. It was years before the release of its second product, which was a smart smoke and carbon monoxide detector for homes.
In 2014, Google fired Nest in a $ 3.2 billion cash deal that closed within 24 hours. At this time, Google promises that Nest will continue to operate as its own brand, as a separate entity from Google. However, this setup has proven difficult with Nest's business culture being criticized for being overly demanding, and various management of shake-up rocking the boat.
In 2018, Google consolidated its commitment to keep a separate entity and announced that it would begin integrating Remote with Google. This has resulted in more management shake-ups, including the release of Nest's CEO as well as chief product officer. Google instead changed things by announcing that it would accept the Google Nest brand name for all of Google's smart products – including Nest's ones – even going so far as to rename it. of the existing Google Home Hub as the Google Nest Hub.
After Google acquired Nest, Dropcam shortly acquired. This Google purchased hardware allows Nest to create one of its star products: the Nest Cam.
At the time of sale – valued at Google for $ 555 million – Dropcam had only two products: Dropcam and Dropcam Pro. Nest took the designs and tweeted them a little to launch the first Nest Cam, marketed as an alternative to Dropcam Pro. Google and Nest have set about transitioning Dropcam users to the "new" app, which is essentially a tweaked version of the original Dropcam app.
After making these transfers, Google removed the Dropcam brand. Greg Duffy, co-founder of Dropcam, openly regrets selling the company to Google.
Believe it or not, Fitbit is not the first company bought by Google that focuses on wearable devices. In late 2016, Google purchased Cronologics for an undisclosed sum. Cronologics only developed one product before the acquisition of Google hardware: the CoWatch as seen in the image above.
CoWatch features integration with Amazon Alexa, allowing the user to issue voice commands right on their smartwatch. The retail price of the device was $ 279 when it launched.
Related: Five years of Wear OS and still a mess to recommend
Although Cronologics had a big hand in developing CoWatch, that's not why Google bought the company. Instead, Google wants the team to work on Android Wear, the Android wearable operating system that will eventually become Wear OS. The Cronologics team was, at the time of Google's purchase, working on its own wearable OS based on an open source version based on Lollipop Android.
After purchase, Google removes Cronologics. This is probably one of the more interesting Google hardware purchases in the company's history. Titan Aerospace began in 2011 with the intention of developing unmanned aircraft that could theoretically fly on solar power alone for up to five years.
Originally, Facebook expressed interest in buying the company with the intent of using the aircraft to deliver high speed internet to places around the world where it would be difficult to logically. However, Google jumped on the idea instead and bought the company in 2014.
Google put Titan Aerospace under the experimental Google X division and renamed the company Titan. Google expects Project Titan to deliver the aircraft it promises and, as Facebook intends, to use the aircraft to distribute wireless internet in perpetual places.
Unfortunately, in 2017, Google abandoned the project and dissolved what was left of Titan Aerospace. Instead, Google shifted its focus to the Loon, a similar idea that used balloons instead of winged aircraft.
Other & # 39; robotics companies
Although we have not yet seen any Made by Google robots, Google has been involved in the development of robotics. In 2013, Google bought at least three well-known robotics companies: Meka Robotics, Redwood Robotics, and Boston Dynamics.
Meka Robotics focuses primarily on human-robot interactions, creating robotic body parts and whole humanoid machines. Redwood Robotics is a joint venture with Meka and other companies with the intention of developing robotic arms for people to use. Both companies have been placed on the Google X platform and haven't heard much about them since.
Boston Dynamics is probably the most famous robotics company with the existence of BigDog robot creators. As with Meka and Redwood, Google put Boston Dynamics in the Google X. program. However, in 2017, Google sold Boston Dynamics to SoftBank – which owns wireless network provider Sprint – for an undefined altogether. 10 "width =" 1200 "height =" 675 "data-srcset =" https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face -10-1200×675.jpg 1200w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-300×170.jpg 300w, https : //cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-768×432.jpg 768w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/ wp-content / uploads / 2019/09 / fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-16×9.jpg 16w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09 /fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-32×18.jpg 32w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review- display-watch-face-10-28×16.jpg 28w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-56×32 .jpg 56w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-f ace-10-64×36.jpg 64w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-712×400.jpg 712w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-1000×563.jpg 1000w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net /wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-792×446.jpg 792w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/ 09 / fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-1280×720.jpg 1280w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review -display-watch-face-10-840×472.jpg 840w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10- 1340×754.jpg 1340w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-770×433.jpg 770w, https: // cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-1 0-356×200.jpg 356w, https://cdn57.androidauthority.net/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/fitbit-versa-2-review-display-watch-face-10-675×380.jpg 675w "data- sizes = "(max-width: 1200px) 100vw, 1200px" />
Now, we've come to the latest acquisition of Google hardware: Fitbit. Since the deal is only days away at this point, we have nothing to say about where the company is headed.
Google is unlikely to repeat what it did to Cronologics and push Fitbit's development teams to work on Wear OS. Nor is Google likely to repeat the mistake it made in Motorola Mobility and end the company's reselling in a few short years.
Related: The best Fitbit trackers and smartwatches
Instead, we expect Google to combine what it did with the HTC team and what it did with Nest Labs. Google will likely release new smart clothes under the name Fitbit (or Google's Fitbit, or something along those lines) and will eventually release a branded Google brand created by the Fitbit team. These may also include wearing aspects of the Fossil patents purchased by Google earlier this year.
If things go well, eventually Fitbit will likely melt and its employees will instead work exclusively with Google-branded wearers.
We're pretty sure about one thing though: judging from Google's history, the Fitbit brand won't last long.