Here at Europe’s biggest technology trade show you’d be forgiven for thinking Samsung were the only company pushing all-new smartwatch products after their Gear S3 launch last week, but wandering around there are some other brands and concepts well worth looking at.
Samsung made a wise move with the Gear S3, moving toward a more traditional watch design than the futuristic all-screen style smartwatch we’ve seen dominate the smartwatch space. They’ve done this because either through research or common sense it’s clear many watch lovers don’t want to make the leap to a smartwatch because they prefer a traditional watch design.
Enter Fossil. This fashion group which focuses mainly on jewellery and watches had some smartwatch devices on show, but also a Hybrid smartwatch that really got my interest peaked.
Their smartwatch series under the Fossil and Michael Kors brands are Android Wear watches that carry all the Google designed functionality combined with a design of the kind that would be familiar to watch lovers.
But it’s the Hybrid series that’s most worth watching.
These classic watch designs are at face value fully traditional mechanical watches. The difference is under the hood. Behind the scenes this watch uses smart technology to control what those hands on the face are doing.
So as you can see, they look like an ordinary watch. However, they have activity tracking, sleep monitoring, automatic time zone setting, alarms and a very smart feature to tell you who’s calling without needing a touchscreen.
When linked with your smartphone via Bluetooth, these hybrid watches feed activity data to your health app including UP by Jawbone, Apple Health and Google Fit. The smartphone feeds back time information and smart notifications.
But if you wife is calling – how do you know it’s her? Simple. You assign numbers to your key contacts. Only you know that when the hands move to point to the 1 on the watch face, that means your wife is calling. Number 2 might be your best mate.
It’s an innovative way to use an analogue watch function to showcase smart notifications.
Across different models, you can use the watch buttons to control music, find your phone with the press of a button and a whole bunch more.
This is a bit of a gamechanger, creating not just a hybrid technology – but a hybrid option – something for watch lovers that don’t want to make the huge leap over to the smartwatches.
Well worth keeping an eye on.
Trevor Long travelled to Berlin for IFA 2016 as a Guest of Sony Australia – Click here for Full details of commercial interests and disclosures