Watch maker Fossil entered the smart wearable gadget space in 2015, first by launching a few smartwatches and wristbands, and then by acquiring activity tracker company Misfit.
Now the company is taking the next (il)logical step… and introducing a whopping 300 new smartwatch styles. Basically that means just about every watch brand that Fossil offers now includes some sort of “smart” features.
Some are all-out smartwatches with Android Wear 2.0 software and AMOLED touchscreen displays, while others are “hybrid smartwatches” with the ability to display “discrete notifications” from your phone.
The hybrid watches include support for activity tracking and a side-button that can be assigned to a handful of activities. For example, you can use it as a camera button to snap a selfie from your smartphone, as a music control button, or to ring your phone to help you find a handset that’s fallen into the couch cushions.
Hybrid versions of Fossils’ DKNY, Mark Jacobs, Armani Exchange, Relic, Diesel, and other brands will launch later this year, with some models coming as soon as this summer and others coming in the fall or around the holiday season. We can also expect new Misfit, Fosil Q Accomplice and Q Activist devices.
As for the full-blown Android Wear smartwatches, Fossil says its 2017 lineup will feature Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processors, “high resolution” displays, and support for pairing with Android and iOS smartphones (which is really a feature of Android Wear and not something that’s exclusive to Fossil’s watches).
Smartwatch models will be available from the Misfit, Diesel, Emporio Armani, and Michael Kors brands, and there are new Fossil Q Venture and Q Explorist models on the way as well.
Fossil is also introducing new “micro apps” for each brand, which will offer features such as the ability to use Instagram photos as your watch’s background.
FYI, there are actually quite a few smartwatch-related announcements making the rounds today, at the start of the Baselworld show. I probably won’t be covering most of them, because I’m increasingly convinced that smartwatches are falling into two camps: luxury fashion accessories and cheap commodity items.
I’m not particularly interested in either space as a whole, but from time to time there may be some items that pique my curiosity… like when a watch maker announces plans to offer 300 different styles. But just as I don’t feel the need to report on every cheap Android tablet, I’m not going to bother writing an article every time a new smartwatch is announced… at least for now.
The interesting thing here is that they are falling largely into a couple camps as you say. It’s interesting because that is largely what watches have been pre-smartwatch for some time.
So – the interesting thing really is that ‘smart’ watches won’t be a thing at all very soon. As we see by a large company as in the article introducing them across brands and product lines. They will simply be what watches are.
The other interesting thing is that Google has, at least so far, been very successful in establishing Android as the default platform for them.
I think that’s hugely important for the future. Personal computing has always followed the same recognizable pattern. The smallest device that has enough power, enough battery life, and enough I/O capability has become the dominant platform. That follows from desktops through luggables to laptops to phones. Even tablets enjoyed a huge surge until laptops got small enough to lure people back over.
Right now watches and the like don’t quite have the power and battery life. Also U/I workable enough is still fledgling. But that won’t always be the case. In several years it could likely happen that smart phones fade away as wearable devices take over.
Google establishing itself early in that space could have huge implications in coming years.
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