Fossil could be the only company that really gets wearables right in 2017

Fossil is ruling the world of hybrid smartwatches, and it’s doing so because it’s treating wearable tech like a fashion range, with subtle design-based updates that fit with current trends. This is a completely different approach to technology than we’re used to. Fossil isn’t going crazy with new features on a single new model released each year, it’s changing the colors and design on multiple editions to match the season, and what’s hot right now.

In 2017, Fossil will expand its already extensive collection of wearable tech products to more than 300. That’s not 300 completely different models, but 300 variations on core devices, just like a company would do with a piece of clothing. It’s also bucking industry trends by pushing more hybrid smartwatches made for women.

At CES 2017, Fossil showed us a selection of its new Q Accomplice watches, models launched under the Skagen brand name, and various new designs centered around the Q Modern Pursuit and Q Grant hybrids. It also launched the first Armani Exchange branded hybrid watches. Proving it’s still working hard in the world of smartwatches, Misfit — which is owned by Fossil — gave us an early look at the Vapor; a classy fitness orientated watch with a gorgeous AMOLED screen.

All the new models have almost identical functionality to the current Fossil watches — such as the Q Crewmaster we reviewed recently — aside from a single new feature, where two smartphone actions can be applied to the side buttons on the watch itself, instead of one. The changes are visual. The Accomplice has a very thin body, making it considerably less bulky than older hybrids, and much more attractive.

Options for all

The massive choice of options means you’re much more likely to find a hybrid smartwatch that matches your personal style. You get to decide between different colors, minimalist faces, metal straps, silicone straps, sub-eyes on the display, and plenty more. Alternatively, opt for the classy minimalism of the new Skagen models. One size doesn’t fit all in fashion, Fossil knows it, and it’s working out well now that it’s applying that logic to wearable tech.

Moving on to the Vapor, we’ve seen an early pre-production version where the software wasn’t final. It won’t run Android Wear and isn’t going to have an app store, but the user interface we played with worked well and was very intuitive. The AMOLED screen is stunning, and we’re looking forward to using it more when it’s closer to the release later this year.

All the new hybrid smartwatches will be released in the spring, an appropriate time to launch a new style collection, and prices will vary from $175 to $215, depending on the style and brand name you buy. We’ll be taking a closer look at some of the new models over the coming months, so look out for complete reviews then.

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