That's the latest prediction from CCS Insight in its Predictions for 2016 and Beyond report. "In 2016, Google develops a lightweight version of Android Wear to offer low-cost fitness bands," reads the report. "The first device to use this software platform will be known as the Nexus Band.
"Google cannot afford to miss out on the data generated by millions of fitness bands to support its knowledge of Google users, to increase their value to advertising sales, and to establish a firmer footing for the Google Fit initiative."
Google making a move into dedicated fitness trackers next year would make a lot of sense. Fitbit and Xiaomi are dominating wearable tech sales as Xiaomi has sold at least six million Mi Bands and Fitbit is now selling four to five million trackers per quarter. That's way ahead of Android Wear smartwatches in terms of numbers. If Google wants to get on as many wrists as possible, it needs a tracker and an OS built for an affordable band.
Earlier this year, we got some details about Google X's activity tracker but the device is said to be a medical grade device not a cheap, lifestyle band.
CCS Insight make a couple more bold predictions for wearable tech in 2016 and the next few years. It reckons that Fitbit will be the first wearable tech company to sell 100 million units, by the end of 2017, partly because, according to the forecaster's research it is the brand most closely associated with fitness trackers in the US.
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CCS also predicts that wearable payments will be the "principal use" for smartwatches by 2017, Under Armour - which owns Endomondo and MyFitnessPal - will be the leading smart sports clothing in 2018 and that pharmaceutical companies will become the largest market for wearables by 2020.
"Examples include bands worn on the wrist or elsewhere that remind the wearer to take medication, or suggest different dosages depending on data gathered by the band," the forecast reports. "These disposable devices have limited functionality and a longer battery life compared with current wearables."
Main image credit: 91mobiles.com Google Nexus 360 concept, 2014