Fossil has once again brought the bling at CES 2018 with an all new Kate Spade Android Wear smartwatch. Aptly named from the wearables maker that never sleeps, the Kate Spade New York Scallop is the brand's first touchscreen smartwatch, and brings another Android Wear watch option for women.
Fossil has been on a mission to embrace smartwatches and wearables, with the company targeting 300 different smartwatch and hybrid products by the end of 2017. We've kind of lost count on whether that was achieved, but with estimates that the company was on track to shift 4.5 million smartwatches last year, the tactic is paying off.
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Fossil already launched a bunch of hybrid analogue watches for Kate Spade back at Baselworld 2017, and now it's upgrading the collection to have an Android Wear option. But does it make a good first impression? We got an early preview at CES 2018 to find out.
Kate Spade New York: Design
While the Skagen Android Wear smartwatch is a little light on industrial design identity, the same can't be said for the Kate Spade. The brand's iconic scallop design (which was a key part of its fitness tracker) is front and centre around the bezel, offering texture and identity, which is so often missing on full display Android Wear smartwatches.
When it comes to the tech, the Kate Spade New York features a round 1.19-inch AMOLED display, with no flat tyre – although it still manages to pack in an ambient light sensor, which regulates brightness to save on battery life. The screen packs a 390 x 390 resolution, which is pretty standard for recent Fossil Group smartwatches.
As usual there's a Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor powering the whole thing, and it works with iOS and Android devices.
Of course, the experience is the standard Android Wear one – but unsurprisingly for a company with so many brands, which is fiercely protective of its values and customers, it's keen to change up the experience as much as possible. And Google gives brands the chance to do that via micro apps.
Kate Spade New York: Android Wear
Fossil has been a big exponent of micro apps, more so than any other manufacturer, and Kate Spade gets its own nifty experience. Fire up the Choose Your Look app and you can customise the watch faces to your outfit. First choose whether it's day or night, the colour of your jewellery, handbag and dress – and the watch will suggest six watch faces, colour coded to your look.
Fossil has also gone big on custom dials too – and there are some fun designs unique to the Kate Spade. One is a pair of cartoon eyes that wink (pictured above) when you have a notification, and our favourite was a daisy, which drops its petals as you work towards your daily step goal.
Yeah, they're gimmicky but fun and add to the Kate Spade feel. Otherwise Android Wear is a vanilla experience, and while that's good (we can't abide companies bloating their devices), it's nice that your experience on a Kate Spade watch feels a little different to those using Huawei or LG smartwatches.
Kate Spade New York: Initial verdict
The Kate Spade New York is a well thought out and beautifully designed smartwatch that will easily appeal to fans of the Fossil brand. It's sleek, compact and off the back of last year's Michael Kors Access Sofie, Fossil is now able to make fully-featured smartwatches small enough to back up its design credentials. The Kate Spade New York Android Wear smartwatch is going to be available for pre-order on 9 January before going on sale in February.