A new report has quietly revealed that Google has commissioned a movement tracker chip form Samsung, and it may indicate a Google-branded wearable is taking a step closer to reality.
The Google Pixel ecosystem is noticeably missing one item: a wearable device. Although a Pixel Watch has been rumored for some years, it has yet to appear.
Recently, Google acquired Fitbit, reinforcing the belief that a wearable Pixel was of interest to Google. That deal is still in progress, but assuming it’s approved, then Google will have two smartwatches, the Fitbit Versa 2 and the Fitbit Ionic.
But a new report from ETNews, picked up by 9to5Google, has revealed that Google has requested a semiconductor from Samsung Electronics. It’s one of several the company has commissioned, and it is designed, it seems, to go into a sensor to measure body movements.
Samsung, the source says, is designing and producing the semiconductors which will enable it to customize the chip to Google’s needs.
Designing an all-new chip takes time, even for a company as efficient and capable as Samsung, so these are early days. In other words, I wouldn’t expect to see the chip in an actual device as soon as this year. That doesn’t mean there couldn’t be a Pixel Watch in 2020 but if there is, it won’t be one with this chip in it.
Of course, it’s also possible that Google has this planned for a phone, or even a completely different product, though my money is definitely on the idea that it’s going into a wearable.
Which leaves the other possibility, that the chip is being groomed to plonk into the first Fitbit device made under Google’s auspices – although I’d have expected Fitbit to commission it, in that case, not Google, at this stage.
Finally, it’s also possible that the chip is being designed so it will work with Google’s wearOS, and could even be farmed out to other manufacturers to use.
Nothing to see just yet, then, but a promising start towards a gadget that’s strong on measuring movement, wherever it ends up.
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