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Even with Google / Fossil, Wear OS is doomed



  Wearing the OS looks nice, but it lacks application and decent hardware.
Click to enlarge / Wearing the OS looks nice, but it lacks application and decent hardware.

Ron Amadeo

Google and Fossil Group have been involved in some acquisition deal yesterday. Although it is a fashion brand, Fossil is probably the largest hardware vendor Android . Brands such as Fossil, Michael Kors, Diesel, Emporio Armani and Misfit are part of the Fossil Group and all produce Wear OS devices. Fossil sells Google some IP and "part of the Fossil Group research and development team, which currently supports IP transfer" for $ 40 million. he was concerned. However, the press release sent the technology community into a riot.

"Google is interested in Android Wear?" "That'll fix everything!" ̵

1; When will the pixel come out? T The Fossil Affair will not fix the Wear operating system. This is not the acquisition that will lead to Pixel Watch. In fact, the deal was probably too small to be really important. Let me pour cold water on all this optimism. Wear OS is still doomed.

The deal was incredibly small

I saw the Google / Fossil deal compared to the Google / HTC deal that ended in 2018 and has some similarities. Google and HTC are working together to build the Pixel 1, Pixel 1 XL and Pixel 2 smartphones. Ultimately, the two companies have reached an agreement that will allow Google to bring that collaboration internally, by acquiring IP and HTC employees. With the deal with HTC, Google has become the maker of end-to-end smartphones.

Today Google and Fossil somehow collaborate on smart watches. Fossil and many other traditional clock makers are able to make Wear OS because Google offers turnkey hardware and software to these non-technology companies. These fashion brands are responsible for the aesthetic design and can choose from several features but from the inside they are the same. Similar to HTC, Google gets some IP and employees

These vague, general outlines refer to the place where the similarities are over. The main difference between the two transactions is only the scale of the two acquisitions: the deal with Google / HTC was $ 1.1 billion. It had to be approved by regulators around the world. Google has written many blog posts about it. It was a big and transforming acquisition – one of Google's top five acquisitions for all time.

The Google / Fossil deal was for zero billion dollars – OK, $ 0.04 billion ($ 40 million) if you want to include two decimal places. He was incredibly small. No regulator will look at it. There will be no blog post. In the big list of Google's acquisitions, the $ 40 million fossil deal will not reach the top 30, and it is before it adjusts to inflation.

Only in terms of dollars is it difficult to compare the two acquisitions seriously. If this is a significant deal, Google will cost a significant amount (relatively speaking) of money.

Google and Fossil have already ruined your Pixel Watch Theory

Google's hardware division started somewhere in 2016 and produced a number of interesting and sometimes even the best-in-class products. To date, Google's hardware division has made three phones, two tablets, three laptops, three intelligent speakers, smart display, two Wi-Fi routers, two phone VR power headphones and a bunch of Chromecasts and accessories. I often say that phones could be better, but the vertical integration of Google Hardware hardware and software often allows it to deal with new form factors, test new things, and bring a level of polish and support that usually do not exist in third

Google Hardware has never tried to use an original smart clock. With almost every other large Google platform that receives a flagship device from Google hardware, it is difficult to interpret the lack of a Wear OS device as anything other than a platform conviction. Wear the operating system is bad, and the hardware has standards and will not create a smart clock unless it can make a good clock. At least, I hope this is the reasoning behind Google.

The Pixel Watch dreams have made many associate this secondary acquisition of Fossil technology with initial viewing of Google (Feel free to CTRL + F for "Pixel Watch" in each of these reports: 1, 2, 3, 4) , but Google and Fossil have already dropped these theories. The two companies took part in an interview with Wearable, where Greg McKeely, EVP and Chief Strategist and Digital Director of Fossil Group, admitted that this technology is for third-party devices and will be open to the entire Wear OS ecosystem. "Fossil Group will bring the product to market through our entire range of brands over time," said McKelvey. "And then, in true Google fashion, technology will be expanded in the industry over time to be beneficial to everyone."

Something that first debuted on a fossil product, and then will be open to the rest of the ecosystem, not

McKeely said technology is "innovative innovation of new products that has not yet reached the market "and stems from the acquisition of Misfit, a fitness tracking company. , Misfit's DNA makes this technology sound more like an acquisition to allow for a new Google Fit feature.

If Google really wanted technology to stand out from the crowd the first party, it already has something in the house that would gain a lot of attention: Project Soli. Soli is a small radar that allows users to control the device with air gestures. It has recently received approval from the FCC and is usually demonstrated as a new smartwatch interface. I still do not think the Soli project can save Wear OS, because before killing an interesting gesture system, you will have to fix the Wear OS processor problem.

Fossil can not solve Wear The biggest problem on OS

Fossil is a fashion brand. This is not a technology company with any experience that can correct the many fundamental problems of Wear OS. Today, no vendor of components sells a good SoC clock that a company like Google can buy. Qualcomm is really the only game in the city and does not seem to be interested in the smartwatch market. Qualcomm has three major generations of smartwatch chips: Snapdragon 400, Snapdragon Wear 2100 and Snapdragon Wear 3100. Generally, these three chips released for four years are the same. All of them use Cortex A7 processors, built on a 28nm manufacturing process, which in 2013 was a modern smartphone technology. Qualcomm has not invested in building a serious smartwatch chip, and instead only flames the market the same basic technology year after year. I do not think it's possible to build a viable, competitive smartwatch using a Qualcomm chip.

Meanwhile, competition from non-carrier operating systems is Samsung and Apple, both of which have their own private divisions at SoC where they can invest in building smartwatch quality chips. I would say Apple's SoCs' S line is the main technology of Apple Watch – it can be compact, fast and long lasting thanks to the SmartWatch SoC with real effort behind it. Apple did not talk much about technical details, but the S3 chip in the Apple Watch Series 3 was 70% faster than the S2 SoC. S4 SoC in this year's Apple Watch Series 4 is said to be twice as fast as S3, and is a modern ARM design with 64-bit compatibility.

Never never saw the performance improvements that Apple Watch uses every year. If you read carefully the Qualcomm press releases (starting 2100, starting at 3100), you will notice that the company does not even claim that the new smartwatch chip is faster than the old smartwatch chip. We also checked this with benchmarks. It is the same ancient processor that repackages over and over again.

When it comes to hardware, Google relies on an ecosystem of component suppliers to produce a good product. This works well in established markets like smartphones, but it is very difficult for a company to penetrate new factor factors that component vendors have not already invested in large quantities. must take a high risk of developing quality components for a market that does not yet exist. Qualcomm has clearly decided that it is not willing to take that risk.

Wearing the OS happens when the hardware ecosystem collapses. You can create the best hardware and software on Earth, but if everything is done on a hundred-year SoC, which is hot, slow, big and has a terrible battery life, you will not end up with a good product unless Google can strengthen the foundation of its platform and provide a new line of quality, competitive smart-chat SoC, there is nothing to do to save Wear OS.


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