It’s the end of the road for Fossil’s dalliance with smartwatches. The journey, which began in 2015 with the Fossil Q Founder (or arguably 11 years earlier with the long-forgotten Wrist Net smartwatch), is now officially over.
“As the smartwatch landscape has evolved significantly over the past few years, we have made the strategic decision to exit the smartwatch business,” the company said in a statement to The Verge.
“Fossil Group is redirecting resources to support our core strength and the core segments of our business that continue to provide strong growth opportunities for us: designing and distributing exciting traditional watches, jewelry, and leather goods under our own as well as licensed brand names.”
If you own and love either of these, it’s not all bad news as the company says it will continue to update its existing Wear OS devices’ software “for the next few years.” Alternatively, 9to5Google notes that Best Buy is offering pretty generous trade-in rates of up to $120 on select Fossil smartwatches, so you might want to get out while the going’s good.
The exit must come as a disappointment to Google, as Fossil and its fashion focus gave smartwatches a less geeky look through the difficult early days of Wear OS (or Android Wear as it once was called).
Now it’s just another brand that has tried making smartwatches using Google’s wearable operating system but ultimately bailed on the venture — joining the likes of Sony, LG and Motorola. Others, like Huawei, have abandoned Wear OS, but continue to make smartwatches using different operating systems.
Then again, Fossil’s exit isn’t as big a blow as it would have been three years ago. In that time, not only has Samsung returned to making Wear OS watches after a spell using its own Tizen operating system, but Google has started building its own wearables with two generations of Pixel Watch.
With the Samsung Galaxy Watch 7 apparently packing a new chip and the upcoming third generation of Pixel Watch reportedly offering different sizes, it appears both are here to stay. Such competition from dedicated hardware makers likely makes Fossil’s exit the right decision for the company, even if the Wear OS market is going to feel a little less varied from now on as a result.