Google and watchmaker Fossil Group today jointly announced a $40 million deal that will see the search giant take ownership of a portion of Fossil's smartwatch technology.
The deal, which is being described as "transactional" and will see some of Fossil's R&D division join Google, will lead to the launch of a "new product innovation that's not yet hit the market," said Fossil VP and chief strategy officer Greg McKelvey.
Speaking to Wearable, McKelvey said the new product is based on technology that Fossil has been developing out of its $260 million Misfit acquisition in 2015. "It's new to the market technology and we think it's a product that has features and benefits that aren't in the category today," he added.
Google confirmed that the new product line will join the Wear OS family, although neither company revealed when the products that eventually emerge out of the partnership would be launched.
The deal is naturally fueling speculation that Google is planning an own-branded direct competitor to Apple Watch. Tentatively billed the "Pixel Watch" by market watchers, the new line is said to be made up of three models, codenamed Ling, Triton, and Sardine, although the details end there.
Google is known to be working on new fitness and health tracking features for its Wear OS, which could theoretically make their debut in the rumored watch, while Fossil recently diverged from its step-counting wristwatch range by announcing a Wear OS-based dedicated Sport smartwatch with built-in GPS and heart-rate sensor, suggesting today's deal could result in a new fitness-focused device.