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 received’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 need to 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 Verge in a CES briefing, during which spokesperson Robyn Sills mentioned 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. Should you faucet it, nonetheless, you received’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 corporations hedge on timelines, lest they make like Douglas Adams and watch self-set deadlines whoosh by. Nonetheless, if all goes properly, it seems seemingly 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 imprecise mid-to-late 2022 timeline.
It might sound curious as to why Fossil would even tease Alexa if it’s not prepared but. The most probably purpose is to provide everybody one thing to stay up for whereas ready for Put on OS 3, which may arrive in a couple of months or a complete 12 months from now. In a briefing, Fossil informed The Verge that this awkward timing did impression preliminary Gen 6 gross sales, although surprisingly, the Gen 5E gross sales appear to be going sturdy. Given all of the uncertainty, it is smart that Fossil would need to spotlight Alexa compatibility.
For what it’s price, it’s (or shall be) a win for Fossil. Voice assistants are more and more frequent 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 house owners for years, and whereas Samsung mentioned you’d be capable of go for Google Assistant on the brand new Galaxy Watch 4, it has yet to officially 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 hardly ever a very good time.
Proper now, Fitbit is the one one that truly gives any type of alternative. Beginning with the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, you had the choice between Alexa or Google Assistant. Nonetheless, you can solely do one or the opposite. So far as I can see on my overview models, whereas there’s an Alexa widget, that doesn’t cease you from utilizing Google Assistant as properly. Granted, there are few official particulars and Alexa on the wrist isn’t the very best. Nonetheless, Fossil providing a alternative in assistants — and even the choice to doubtlessly use a couple of — is a great transfer. It’d simply be smarter if it was right here already.