Mobile Communications

Armani Exchange gets in the smartwatch game with new line of hybrids

The smartwatch market may be in a state of flux, but that hasn’t deterred Fossil Group from dipping its toes in the water. The timekeeping giant released dozens of models in 2016 from well-known brands such as Michael Kors, Diesel, Chaps, and Kate Spade, and now Armani Exchange is joining the party.

The new line of Armani Exchange Connected hybrid smartwatches promise to stay linked to your Android phone or iPhone from up to 84 feet away, and require a separate app to customize notifications and access activity features. Like Fossil’s other hybrids, the watches feature standard faces that incorporate smart touches that elevate them above their “dumb” peers. In the case of Armani Exchange, the watches’ most notable features are auto time, which mirrors the GPS-set time on your phone, and the ability to view a second time zone at the press of a button.

Additional features include support for notifications, activity and sleep tracking, alarms, music controls, and the ability to wirelessly take a photo using your smartphone’s camera. As with the rest of Fossil’s hybrids, the Armani Exchange smartwatch uses a standard coin cell battery that should last six months before it needs to be replaced. The watches, which are being unveiled at CES this week, are available in white, black, blue, and orange, and will be available for $175 through the company’s website beginning in February.

Why it matters: Armani Exchange’s hybrid smartwatches might not fit your specific tastes, but that’s not really the point. The future of smartwatches is hazy at best, but even if fully connected wearables never pan out, hybrid watches are likely to stick around for a while. It’s sort of the best of both worlds, blending the classic style of a wristwatch with the modern features of a smartphone with a long-lasting battery.

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