Though Fossil launched two new smartwatches at CES at present, there’s one large elephant within the room: the improve to Put on OS 3 gained’t arrive for a number of months. To take the sting out of the wait, Fossil snuck in one other new characteristic for its Gen 6 smartwatches: Amazon Alexa. As for when Alexa will arrive, you’ll should accept “coming quickly.” Hopefully earlier than Put on OS 3.
In an announcement to 9to5Google, Fossil says the replace will come within the first half of 2022. This tracks with what Fossil informed The TechMac in a CES briefing, during which spokesperson Robyn Sills stated Alexa would come to the Gen 6 units “early this 12 months.” Fossil despatched me each the Skagen Falster 6 and the Razer x Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch, and yup, there’s a widget only for Alexa. For those who faucet it, nonetheless, you gained’t deliver up the voice assistant. You’ll simply see a “coming quickly” message.
So, between “coming quickly,” “early this 12 months,” and “first half of this 12 months,” it’s anybody’s guess. With options like this, it’s not unusual to see firms hedge on timelines, lest they make like Douglas Adams and watch self-set deadlines whoosh by. Nonetheless, if all goes nicely, it seems doubtless that Alexa compatibility will arrive earlier than Put on OS 3. As for when the Put on OS 3 upgrades will arrive, that’s as much as Google. For now, each Google and Fossil haven’t budged from the equally obscure mid-to-late 2022 timeline.
It might sound curious as to why Fossil would even tease Alexa if it’s not prepared but. The almost certainly purpose is to present everybody one thing to look ahead to whereas ready for Put on OS 3, which might arrive in just a few months or a complete 12 months from now. In a briefing, Fossil informed The TechMac that this awkward timing did influence preliminary Gen 6 gross sales, although surprisingly, the Gen 5E gross sales appear to be going sturdy. Given all of the uncertainty, it is sensible that Fossil would wish to spotlight Alexa compatibility.
For what it’s price, it’s (or can be) a win for Fossil. Voice assistants are more and more widespread on smartwatches, however prospects don’t actually have a say during which assistant comes with their wearable. Put on OS watches are at the moment tied to Google Assistant and Apple Watches are Siri-only. Samsung has inflicted Bixby onto Galaxy Watch homeowners for years, and whereas Samsung stated you’d have the ability to go for Google Assistant on the brand new Galaxy Watch 4, it has but to formally arrive. Some watches, like Garmin’s newly introduced Venu 2 Plus, merely join you to your cellphone’s assistant. Others hook you up with a proprietary assistant, and that’s not often a great time.
Proper now, Fitbit is the one one that really gives any form of selection. Beginning with the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, you had the choice between Alexa or Google Assistant. Nevertheless, you possibly can solely do one or the opposite. So far as I can see on my evaluate items, whereas there’s an Alexa widget, that doesn’t cease you from utilizing Google Assistant as nicely. Granted, there are few official particulars and Alexa on the wrist isn’t the most effective. Nevertheless, Fossil providing a selection in assistants — and even the choice to probably use multiple — is a brilliant transfer. It’d simply be smarter if it was right here already.