Alphabet Inc, the owner of Google, has made an offer to acquire US wearable device maker Fitbit Inc, with an aim to capture the crowded market for health and fitness trackers and smartwatches, according to sources familiar with the matter.
However, the sources, remaining anonymous, added that it was uncertain if the talks would lead to any agreement. The amount offered to Fitbit for the deal could not be learned.
Fitbit that makes wearable fitness trackers and smartwatches has recently been facing a tough time competing with cheaper wearables from China-based electronics companies Xiaomi and Huawei. Despite joining major tech companies like Apple and Samsung in developing smartphones, it is yet to develop any wearable devices.
Fitbit watch is the second most wearable smartwatch brand after Apple. Its shares in India rose up from 9% in 2017 to 14% in 2018. With Fitbit acquisition, Google would make a big entry into the Indian wearable market as the wearable maker is a market leader in the country.
Fitbit manufactures wearable health devices that help track daily steps, calories burned, and distance traveled and also assists in monitoring sleep, heart rate, track workouts, and fitness activities.
In March, Fitbit launched a more affordable smart band series, Fitbit Inspire, aimed at increasing the customer base towards the budgetary section and also launched Fitbit Versa 2 for increasing the competition intensity in the mid-segment market of wearable devices.
Currently, some of the popular Fitbit watches in the Indian market are Fitbit Versa Smartwatch, Fitbit Versa Special Edition Smartwatch, Fitbit Ionic Smartwatch, Fitbit Charge Activity Wristband, and Fitbit ALTA Smartwatch.
Google’s entry in the smartwatch market
If Google and Fitbit shake hands on the deal, the former is likely to compete directly with Apple and Samsung in the smartwatch and wearable device space. The companies have refused to comment on the deal.
In January, Google purchased Fossil Group Inc’s under-development intellectual property related to smartwatch tech for $ 40 million. Presently, Google’s only association with wearable devices is the Android-based Wear OS software that it develops with other OEMs for use in third-party smartwatches.
According to a 2018 research by TechSci Research, the Indian smart band market is predicted to grow at a CAGR of 41% by 2023.