Reviews - January 29, 2024

The most consistent OEM exit for Wear OS: Fossil is discontinuing smartwatch production.

Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch.
Enlarge / Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch.

fossil

Fossil was the only brand to stick with Google’s Wear OS for years, but now the fashion brand is pulling out of the smartwatch market. Just before the weekend, the company confirmed to The Verge: “We have made the strategic decision to exit the smartwatch business.” The company said its existing smartwatches will continue to receive software updates “over the next few years” and will refocus on traditional watches and jewelry.

Wear OS is now out of the dark ages, but for years Fossil was the OS’s only lifeline. At a time when Qualcomm was suffocating the OS with lackluster SoC updates, Fossil was the only company that kept the dream alive. Fossil entered the Android Wear/Wear OS market in 2015. only Since then, it has been a steady source of Android smartwatch hardware. Large companies such as Samsung, LG, Sony, Huawei, Motorola, and Asus all made watches for only one to two years and then stopped.

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In 2021, Google removed Fossil despite years of loyalty. rock When Samsung offered to return to the Wear OS ecosystem. Google has lured Samsung away from its in-house Tizen OS with preferential treatment, including exclusivity and exclusive apps for the new ‘Wear OS 3’ release. That year, 2021, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 and Fossil’s Gen 6 smartwatch went head-to-head with the August Wear OS release. Samsung’s watch had Samsung’s own faster SoC, ran Wear OS 3, and cost $250, while Fossil’s used a slower Qualcomm chip, Wear OS 2, and cost $300. Fossil would hardly be able to compete with Samsung if the playing field were level. But when you add Samsung’s proprietary chips and Google’s preferential treatment, Fossil’s watch could never have been a success. Gen 6 will be the company’s last smartwatch launch.

Fossil’s launch period never resulted in significant sales. Francisco Jeronimo, vice president of data and analytics at IDC, said Fossil peaked in 2015 with a 6.7% smartwatch market share and sold 19 million units from 2015 to 2023, or 2.2% of the overall market. Jeronimo says that in eight years, Apple sold 248 million watches.