Google bought the firm behind that Amazon Alexa smartwatch

Ex-Googlers who developed an Android Wear alternative are now working on Android Wear.

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Steve Dent
December 13, 2016 1:01 PM
Google bought the firm behind that Amazon Alexa smartwatch

Cronologics, the company that developed what it hoped would be an alternative smartwatch OS to Android Wear, has been acquired by Google for an unknown sum. The startup was founded by former Google employees, ironically enough, and developed the software behind recently launched the Alexa-powered and Amazon-blessed CoWatch from Imco. The Cronologics OS that powers it is based on Android Lollipop, and can supposedly run almost any Android app, assuming the CoWatch could sideload them (it can't).

Google didn't reveal why it bought the company, and Cronologics said (via a statement on its site) that "we see strong alignment with Android Wear's mission and look forward to working with our new colleagues at Google." Imco will continue to sell the CoWatch and said "our internal software team will take over this unique smartwatch platform completely." Of course, Google Home competes directly with Amazon's Alexa-powered Echo products.

It would make some sense for the Cronologics team to build Home features into the Android Wear 2.0 smartwatch OS (coming early next year), though that's pure speculation on my part. Smartwatches have failed to catch on with the public, so Google's next OS release had better be a big improvement, or the whole category might remain in a niche.

Update: The post has been updated to clarify that Imco is the company behind the CoWatch, not Cronologics. Imco has release a statement saying it will continue to develop and sell the Amazon Alexa-enabled CoWatch.

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