Fossil Q Wearables – New Android Wear Smart Watches
Adapt or Die, Right?
Wrist watches had a good, long run, didn’t they? For years, most people wore a watch to keep track of nothing more than the time of day. It sounds like such an antiquated notion — a wristlet that was basically a shrunken down clock, and all it did was let you know if you were running late or on time.
That’s cute, but it’s 2015 now. What else have you got?
Fossil, the manufacturer of affordable, stylish wrist watches (among other products) that has been around for more than three decades, is finally catching up to the rest of the tech sector by offering a line of Fossil Wearables. They teased us with announcements about a year ago, but as of this past weekend, they are available to the tracker wearing public.
A’s about Q
Fossil’s new line of smart wearables has been dubbed the Q line, and it’s got three main categories. The first is a display-less tracker, along the lines of a Jawbone or a mid-priced Fitbit. Fossil made an attempt to make these gender-specific, with the Reveler aimed somewhat at men and the Dreamer aimed somewhat at women. But really, unless you swap out the included band for a more gender specific one, both the Reveler and the Dreamer should be good for either gender.
The next category looks like a regular old Fossil watch but has tracker capabilities under the hood, much like the Withings Activité line. This is the Fossil Q Grant, and while its size and silver-or-black colour choices make it appear more masculine than feminine, it’s still fairly neutral. The final category is a full on smartwatch along the lines of other Android-powered devices and the Apple Watch. This is the Fossil Q Founder, and it’s bright, shiny, and powerful.
The Smart Part of Q Wearables
All of the Fossil Wearables can function as an activity tracker, thanks to a built-in three-axis accelerometer. You’ll know details like how many steps you’ve taken, how far you’ve travelled, and how many calories you’ve burned. There doesn’t appear to be any sleep tracking functionality yet, but this will probably be included in later versions of the app.
Speaking of the Fossil Q app, it’s available on both iOS and Android, and like the app for other trackers, it’s where you set up all of your preferences and check all of your stats (via BlueTooth LE). The activity aspect of the app can connect to other fitness apps like Google Fit, Apple’s Health, Jawbone UP, and a few others. You can also configure the app to buzz your device with notifications, and there’s a function called Curiosity that can help you find new, fun ways to get your steps in.
The line of Fossil Q wearables is a partnership with Intel, and it really makes a lot of sense. Fossil can make these devices look great (and better than a lot of trackers made my athletic and tech companies), while Intel can make their inner workings powerful. This is especially relevant when discussing the Q Founder smartwatch, which runs on Android Wear and will need to work extremely well if it’s going to survive in the current market.
All Fossil Q wearables need to be recharged; Fossil estimates that you should be able to get about a week’s worth of battery life before plugging in. They’re all splash proof as well. But while the technology of the Q line may be top notch, there may be another factor that will drive sales.
Fossil Q Line Seriously Looking Good
Whether you’re male, female, or an individual who doesn’t identify with either gender, you know that your sporty looking tracker doesn’t really coordinate with your professional attire. Depending on which one you have, they’re rubbery, they’re big and clunky, or they have large digital readouts that just look silly when you’re at the office. The great thing about Fossil Q wearables is that they are understated and elegant. They blend in with whatever you’re wearing, and they don’t at all look like they’re counting your calories.
Q devices are also made out of lovely materials. The Reveler, Dreamer, and Grant are made of metal (including a rose gold option on the Grant) and leather, and they look like bracelets and a regular watch, respectively. And, for full customisation, the bands can easily be swapped out for one in a different colour or texture.
Once More, With Timing
While Fossil has predominantly been a company that focuses on watches and leather goods, it did have an earlier foray into high tech products. For example, they partnered with Microsoft in the first few years of the 21st Century to create the Microsoft SPOT watch. Plus, they had their own early attempt at wearable technology that was less than glamorous.
If you paid attention to such things ten or 12 years ago, you may remember the short-lived Fossil Wrist PDA from 2003. This was essentially a shrunken down Palm Pilot (remember those?) that looked like a watch and functioned like a Palm with a too-small screen. It was expensive, it wasn’t waterproof, and you had to have extra nimble fingers to use the toothpick of a stylus that controlled the thing. It didn’t have the cool styling that consumers had come to expect from Fossil, either. Besides, the Wrist PDA was old technology; the new line of Q wearables looks much more promising.
Can Fossil Q Hang?
Sure, they’re great looking and totally functional, but we have to wonder if there’s room in the already crowded wearable market for even more devices that basically do what other trackers do. And remember, companies like Jawbone, Fitbit, Misfit, and others are wearable manufacturers first and foremost. Their focus is solely on health and wellness, and customers know that. Fossil, on the other hand, has made its name as a watch and leather goods company, and has not had much past success with any smart devices.
How will customers react to Fossil smart wearables? Will they go for it? There’s a lot of industry buzz right now, since Fossil is a big name company releasing a brand new, advanced product line. But can they sustain this excitement and turn it into sales? Well, that remains to be seen.
While the Fossil Q Founder won’t be available until closer to Christmas time, the Reveler, Dreamer, and Grant are all available for purchase as of October 25 in the US. Fossil promises they’ll be out for customers in the UK and EU within a week of the US date.
While the UK pricing hasn’t been posted yet, the US pricing looks to be competitive and in line with the prices of popular trackers. The Reveler and Dreamer retail for $125 USD (about £82), while the Grant ranges in price from $175 to $195 (£114 to £127), depending on materials. As for the pending Q Founder, it’s expected to sell for $275 (roughly £180).
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