Image source: Fossil

Fossil Group confirms it is exiting the smartwatch space

Fossil Group has officially announced its departure from the smartwatch market segment. Known for its extensive range of WearOS watches under various sub-brands, the Fossil’s exit marks the end of an era. The company’s decision, while not entirely unexpected, follows months of speculation and hints on platforms like Reddit, although these were initially unconfirmed.

A shift in strategy

The signs of Fossil’s strategic shift were evident, given the lack of new smartwatch releases in recent times. The last notable launch from the company was the Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Edition, unveiled just over a year ago. Since then, the company has maintained a conspicuous silence. There have been rumours in recent months, though, of shop keepers telling customers there will probably never be new wearOS watches from Fossil. And that they are selling all of their stock, and that’s it.

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Many had actually anticipated the debut of the Gen 7 watches in 2022 or early 2023, following the pattern of annual releases established since the original launch of the Gen 6 lineup in August 2021. We’ve actually grown accustomed to Fossil releasing the next generation lineup every year. However, this expectation has now been clarified with the company’s latest announcement.

According to a statement given to The Verge by Fossil spokesperson Amanda Castelli, the company is realigning its focus.

“As the smartwatch landscape has evolved significantly over the past few years, we have made the strategic decision to exit the smartwatch business,” Castelli explained.

Fossil Group plans to redirect its resources toward strengthening its core businesses, which include traditional watches, jewelry, and leather goods, both under its own and licensed brand names.

Fossil Group smartwatches
Image source: Fossil

The future of WearOS and Fossil’s legacy

Fossil Group’s contribution to keeping WearOS relevant over the years is undeniable. However, the company’s withdrawal raises questions about its future involvement in the smartwatch sector. It’s worth noting that Fossil also offers a range of hybrid watches that do not operate on Google’s platform.

In October, Fossil updated its Gen 6 watches to WearOS 3.5, bringing performance enhancements, battery life optimization, a new interface design, along with improved fitness tracking. This update leaves current Fossil smartwatch owners wondering about the level of ongoing product support.

Fossil Group smartwatches
Image source: Fossil

The Fossil representative assured The Verge that the company intends to continue updating existing Wear OS watches “for the next few years.” Yet, it remains to be seen how much effort and resources Fossil will allocate to these updates, now that they have shifted their focus away from this business.

The departure of a pivotal player like Fossil from the smartwatch industry undeniably affects the landscape of WearOS, a platform they significantly helped develop and popularize. This move casts a shadow on the future prospects of Google’s smartwatch operating system and the broader wearable market. For Android phone users seeking diverse smartwatch options, this development is less than ideal.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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