Fossil promises to bring Alexa to its smartwatches soon
As for when Alexa will arrive, you will have to settle for "arrive soon." But when it comes, you will at least be able to choose between digital assistants.
Although Fossil launched two new smartwatches at CES, there's a big elephant in the room: The Wear OS 3 upgrade won't arrive for several months. To take the sting out of the waiting, Fossil snuck into another new feature for its Gen 6 smartwatches: Amazon Alexa. As for when Alexa will arrive, you will have to settle for "arrive soon." Hopefully, before Wear OS 3.
In a statement to 9to5Google, Fossil says the update will arrive in the first half of 2022. This follows what Fossil told The Verge at a CES briefing, in which spokesperson Robyn Sills said that Alexa would be coming to devices. Gen 6 "earlier this year. "Fossil sent me both the Skagen Falster 6 and the Razer x Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch, and yes, there is an Alexa-only widget. However, the voice assistant will not appear if you tap on it. Instead, you will only see a" coming soon "message. ".
So between "coming soon," "early this year," and "first half of this year," no one can guess. With features like this, it's not uncommon to see companies protect themselves on deadlines, lest they behave like Douglas Adams and see self-set deadlines pass quickly. Still, if all goes well, it seems likely that Alexa support will arrive before Wear OS 3. As for when the Wear OS 3 updates will arrive, that's up to Google. For now, both Google and Fossil have not moved from the equally vague timeline of mid-to-late 2022.
It may seem curious to know why Fossil would even make fun of Alexa if it's not ready yet. The most likely reason is to offer everyone something to look forward to while they wait for Wear OS 3, which could arrive in a few months or a whole year from now. In a briefing, Fossil told The Verge that this awkward moment affected initial Gen 6 sales, although surprisingly, Gen 5E sales appear to be going strong. Given all the uncertainty, it makes sense that Fossil wants to highlight Alexa compatibility.
This is (or will be) a win for Fossil. Voice assistants are becoming more and more common in smartwatches, but customers have no say in which assistant comes with their wearable device. Wear OS watches are currently linked to the Google Assistant, and Apple watches are for Siri only. Samsung has inflicted Bixby on Galaxy Watch owners for years, and while Samsung said it could opt for Google Assistant on the new Galaxy Watch 4, it has yet to arrive officially. Like the recently announced Garmin Venu 2 Plus, some watches simply connect you to your phone's assistant. Others connect you with an assistant owner, and that's rarely a good time.
Right now, Fitbit is the only one that really offers any choice. Starting with the Fitbit Sense and Versa 3, you had a choice between Alexa or Google Assistant. However, you can only do one or the other. From what I can see in my review units, although there is an Alexa widget, that doesn't stop you from using Google Assistant. Of course, there are few official details, and Alexa is not the best on the wrist. However, Fossil offering a choice in wizards, or even the option to potentially use more than one, is a smart move. It would be more innovative if it was already here.