Step forward the hybrid. As the name suggests, these watches are an amalgamation of smartwatches (generally speaking, those with touchscreens) and regular timepieces, with their physical hands and limited functionality.
Hybrid watches usually offer a traditional-looking face, but with an extra dial or two displaying information like steps taken, hours slept, battery life, and notifications from your smartphone, which connects via Bluetooth.
Your walking – plus running, cycling and sometimes even swimming – is tracked and logged by an onboard accelerometer, and some hybrids include a vibration motor so alert you to something on your phone, or wake you up with a silent alarm.
A major bonus of hybrid smartwatches is their battery life, which is measured in weeks, months or even years.
Some hybrids accept regular watch batteries, while others require recharging every few weeks. Finally, hybrid watches are often cheaper than their flashier cousins.
Fossil’s new hybrid smartwatches combine both physical watch hands with a circular low-power and also always-on display.
The $195 Fossil HR has a monochromatic display, which is capable of showing the kind of information that you typically expect to see on a smartwatch which includes activity tracking, weather information, and app notifications — all these while being power-efficient enough that the watch offers a battery life of around two weeks.
Back when news of these smartwatches leaked in September, there was this speculation that they used the secret smartwatch tech that Google had paid Fossil $40 million at the beginning of the year.
However, Fossil said these watches are not related to that deal. There is no relation between the IP that Fossil had sold to Google at the beginning of the year and the launch of the Fossil Hybrid HR, a spokesperson for Fossil told.
Fossil has a long history of developing the hybrid smartwatches despite its more typical Wear OS smartwatches like this year’s Fossil Carlyle Gen 5. However, the company’s previous hybrid watches, like the Fossil Q Activist, used their watch hands to display the notifications rather than including a screen. This had prevented them from showing anything more complicated than which app was actually generating the notification.
The new Fossil HR smartwatch will be made available starting today.