Fitbit Charge 3

Fitbit to Google: Demise or Resurrection?

After 12 remarkable years, it looks like the wild ride for Fitbit may be coming to an end. Maybe. Or maybe it’s on the verge of becoming a rising star in the Google universe. On Friday, the sale of Fitbit to Google for $2.1 billion emerged as a real story. Speculation about such a deal had floated around since last spring when Fitbit and Google first began collaborating on digital health innovation.

Fitbit Made It, Apple Grabbed It

Just four years ago, Fitbit defined the wearable tech market. But then Apple took it. After the Apple Watch came to market in 2015, Fitbit slowly became an also-ran. Though it had great technology, it could not compete with the cool factor and marketing might of Apple. For that matter, Google didn’t have too much success with its Wear OS watches.

Apple now has 38 percent of the market, leaving Fitbit in second place with 24 percent. One analyst recently described Google’s market share as “pitiful.” Fossil is the biggest seller and it has only a four percent market share. Samsung has snubbed Google’s Wear OS, instead using yet another system called Tizen.

So it looks like Google is trading up by getting the Fitbit hardware.

A Bright Future?

Last year, Fitbit finally shut down the last remains of the Pebble Watch system it acquired in 2016. Pebble was a promising Kickstarter progeny that began in 2012. It had a great watch that people loved until the Apple Watch came along. Within a year, the company was dead.

With a home at Google, Fitbit might have a different future. For example, Nest was another specialty hardware company that Google acquired in 2014. At the time it had only one product – a smart thermostat. Now, the Google Nest is the brand for all of Google’s smart home products. That includes smart speakers, smoke and CO2 detectors, security cameras, and more.

With the sale of Fitbit to Google, it looks like Fitbit has a chance of becoming a core brand for Google’s ambitions in personal health. Fitbit sparked a revolution in personal health monitoring, but it’s had a hard time keeping up. Google has much bigger ambitions and Fitbit might be an important tool for achieving them.

Click here for more on the Fitbit deal and here for a broader view of Google’s ambitions in health.

Fitbit Charge 3, photograph © Fitbit Inc

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November 2, 2019

2 Responses to “Fitbit to Google: Demise or Resurrection?”

  1. November 02, 2019 at 8:34 am, Mary-Jo said:

    I’m happy to use and promote the one that works the best! With evidence! Too much to ask?

  2. November 02, 2019 at 1:55 pm, Allen Browne said:

    More activity leads to better health and helps keep weight off. The best device is the one you like.