Google’s different {hardware} acquisitions: Where are they now?

Android Q Beta 5 Dark Mode Boot Animation Google Logo

Android Q Beta 5 Dark Mode Boot Animation Google Logo

One of the largest items of reports over the last few weeks is Google’s acquisition of Fitbit, which makes well-liked health monitoring {hardware} such because the Fitbit Versa sequence of smartwatches. While this most up-to-date Google {hardware} acquisition is crucial step for the corporate in growing its personal wearables, it’s onerous to not be pessimistic about the way forward for Fitbit.

You see, Google’s observe report relating to obtaining {hardware} firms isn’t the best. Most of the corporations bought by way of Google both fail or just get built-in with different Google manufacturers. The record of Google {hardware} acquisitions that stand the take a look at of time is relatively small.

We clearly do not know if Fitbit goes to thrive or fail beneath Google, however we will get an concept for its probabilities by way of having a look at Google’s historical past. Below, you’ll discover a record of probably the most distinguished Google {hardware} acquisitions and what’s taking place with the ones firms these days.

Motorola Mobility

Google’s acquire of Motorola Mobility in 2020 is almost certainly one of probably the most well-known buys within the corporate’s historical past. The deal value Google $12.5 billion, which makes it nonetheless, by way of a long way, the largest Google {hardware} acquisition ever.

Google’s intent with the acquisition was once multi-faceted. The corporate sought after keep watch over over the hundreds of mobile-related patents Motorola had on the time, with the purpose of the usage of the ones patents to shield towards a large number of Android-related proceedings from competition (maximum particularly Apple). Google additionally sought after to go into the smartphone {hardware} area by way of introducing top quality entry-level units particularly catered to rising markets.

However, the plan didn’t determine as Google had was hoping. By 2020, Google printed it could promote Motorola Mobility to Chinese producer Lenovo. That sale earned Google simply $2.91 billion, a meager share of what it in the beginning paid. Google did get to stay a majority of Motorola’s patents, although.

HTC skill

Purchasing the whole lot of Motorola’s smartphone trade wasn’t the closing time Google tried to shop for its means into the {hardware} production trade. In 2020, Google introduced it had bought a big chew of HTC’s design and analysis skill in addition to non-exclusive rights to a couple of HTC’s highbrow assets. The deal value Google $1.1 billion.

Google and HTC labored very carefully in combination to broaden the primary Google Pixel smartphone, which landed in 2020. Although the Pixel was once designed by way of Google and advertised as a “Made by way of Google” product, HTC had a large hand within the tool’s introduction.

Related: HTC in 2020: Last probability saloon

Google’s HTC acquire a yr later was once a strategic maneuver to broaden long term Pixel smartphones with no need to sub-contract any other corporate. The Google Pixel 3 — and each and every different Pixel smartphone since — is no less than partially advanced by way of the HTC crew Google purchased.

Meanwhile, HTC itself is floundering, most probably due in no small phase to dropping about part of its maximum gifted designers and researchers in that sale.

Nest Labs

Nest Thermostat

Nest Thermostat

Two former Apple engineers began Nest Labs in 2020. By 2020, the primary Nest-branded tool gave the impression: the Nest Learning Thermostat. It was once years earlier than it launched its 2nd product, which was once a wise smoke and carbon monoxide detector for houses.

In 2020, Google scooped up Nest in a $3.2 billion money deal that closed inside 24 hours. At the time, Google promised that Nest would proceed to behave as its personal emblem, as a separate entity from Google. However, this setup proved tough with Nest’s company tradition criticized as being very not easy, and quite a lot of control shake-u.s.rocking the boat.

In 2020, Google’s rolled again on its promise to stay Nest a separate entity and introduced it could get started merging Nest into Google. This resulted in additional control shake-ups, together with the go out of Nest’s CEO in addition to the manager product officer. Google than switched issues up once more by way of saying that it could undertake the Google Nest emblem identify for all of Google’s good house merchandise — together with those who Nest had not anything to do with — even going as far as to retroactively rename its current Google Home Hub because the Google Nest Hub.



DropcamBest Buy

After Google got Nest, it very in a while thereafter got Dropcam. This Google {hardware} purchase allowed Nest to create one of its celebrity merchandise: the Nest Cam.

At the time of the sale — which handiest value Google $555 million — Dropcam had handiest two merchandise: the Dropcam and the Dropcam Pro. Nest took the ones designs and tweaked them somewhat to release the primary Nest Cam, which was once advertised as a successor to the Dropcam Pro. Google and Nest then set about migrating Dropcam customers to the “new” Nest app, which was once merely a tweaked model of Dropcam’s authentic app.

After making those strikes, Google then dissolved the Dropcam emblem. Greg Duffy, the co-founder of Dropcam, overtly regrets promoting the corporate to Google.


Believe it or no longer, Fitbit isn’t the primary corporate Google’s bought that specializes in wearable units. In overdue 2020, Google bought Cronologics for an undisclosed sum. Cronologics advanced simply one product earlier than the Google {hardware} acquisition: the CoWatch as noticed within the symbol above.

The CoWatch featured integration with Amazon Alexa, permitting the consumer to factor voice instructions proper to their smartwatch. The tool’s retail value was once $279 when it introduced.

Related: Five years of Wear OS and it’s nonetheless too messy to counsel

Although Cronologics had a large hand in creating the CoWatch, that’s no longer why Google purchased the corporate. Instead, Google sought after the crew to paintings on Android Wear, the Android-based wearable running device that may ultimately change into Wear OS. The Cronologics crew was once, on the time of Google’s acquire, operating by itself wearable OS in accordance with an open-source Lollipop-based model of Android.

After the acquisition, Google dissolved Cronologics.

Titan Aerospace

This is almost certainly one of the extra attention-grabbing Google {hardware} purchases within the corporate’s historical past. Titan Aerospace started in 2020 with the purpose of creating unmanned plane that would theoretically fly on solar energy on my own for as much as five years.

Originally, Facebook expressed passion in purchasing the corporate with the precise purpose of the usage of the plane to ship high-speed web to puts world wide the place that may be logistically tough. Google, alternatively, jumped at the thought as an alternative and acquired the corporate in 2020.

Google put Titan Aerospace beneath the experimental Google X department and renamed the corporate Project Titan. Google was hoping Project Titan may just ship the plane it promised and, simply as Facebook supposed, use that plane to distribute wi-fi web to underserved spaces.

Unfortunately, by way of 2020, Google deserted the venture and dissolved what remained of Titan Aerospace. Instead, Google shifted focal point to Loon, an excessively equivalent concept that makes use of balloons as an alternative of winged plane.

Various robotics firms

Although we’ve but to look any Made by way of Google robots, Google has been very fascinated about robotics building. In 2020, Google bought at least three distinguished robotics firms: Meka Robotics, Redwood Robotics, and Boston Dynamics.

Meka Robotics essentially all in favour of human-robot interactions, growing robot frame portions and whole humanoid machines. Redwood Robotics was once a three way partnership with Meka and different firms with the purpose of creating robot fingers to be used by way of people. Both firms had been put into the Google X platform and no longer a lot has been heard about them since.

Boston Dynamics is one of the crucial well-known robotics corporate in life being the creators of the BigDog robotic. As with Meka and Redwood, Google put Boston Dynamics into the Google X program. However, in 2020, Google bought Boston Dynamics to SoftBank — which owns the wi-fi community supplier Sprint — for an undisclosed sum.


fitbit versa 2 review display watch face 10

fitbit versa 2 review display watch face 10

Now, we arrive at the latest Google {hardware} acquisition: Fitbit. Since the deal is solely days previous at this level, we don’t have a lot of a clue about the place the corporate is headed.

It’s not likely Google goes to copy what it did with Cronologics and push the Fitbit building groups to only paintings on Wear OS. It’s additionally not likely that Google goes to copy the error it made with Motorola Mobility and finally end up reselling the corporate in a couple of quick years.

Related: The highest Fitbit trackers and smartwatches

Instead, we think Google to mix what it did with the HTC crew and what it did with Nest Labs. Google will most probably unlock new good wearables beneath the Fitbit identify (or Fitbit by way of Google, or one thing alongside the ones strains) after which ultimately unlock a Google-branded wearable created by way of the Fitbit crew. These wearables may additionally incorporate sides of the Fossil patents Google bought previous this yr.

If issues cross neatly, ultimately Fitbit will probably be dissolved and its staff will as an alternative paintings on Google-branded wearables solely.

We are reasonably positive about one factor although: judging from Google’s historical past, the Fitbit emblem isn’t going to closing lengthy.

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