In short: Japanese watchmaker Citizen Watch Company and its American peer Fossil Group teamed up to create a unique hybrid smartwatch, the two firms announced. The device will be manufactured by Citizen and utilize Fossil’s technology, with the main implication of that agreement being that it will run Google’s Wear OS. That still isn’t a given since Fossil continues to define the segment as a field of watches that blend traditional aesthetics with smart features while not requiring conventional recharging. Citizen’s name is expected to be the only one attached to the gadget as the Japanese company will be the one selling the final product. Citizen and Fossil said the hybrid smartwatch is just the first step in their collaboration that has been envisioned as a long-term affair and will lead to new innovations in the segment.
Background: Hybrid smartwatches remain a rare breed, with LG being set to become the first major manufacturer to deliver one such device in a long time, according to recent rumors. Fossil and Citizen’s solution is likely to utilize mechanical clock arms and a touch-sensitive display panel in an effort to combine traditional timepieces with the versatility of contemporary apps. Fossil has been one of the staunchest supporters of Google’s Wear OS for a long time and was among the first manufacturers that promised to embrace the Android Wear rebranding earlier this year, as well as Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100, a new system-on-chip designed specifically for intelligent timepieces.
Impact: Any partnership between two major watchmakers dedicated to smartwatch innovations is a major vote of confidence for the segment that has been stagnating in recent years, primarily due to the fact that wearable software advancements haven’t been closely followed by hardware improvements since 2016. The Snapdragon Wear 3100 is promising to change that by enabling a new generation of intelligent wrist-worn devices with better battery life, more processing power, and support for a broad range of new features.