By Michelle Graff
New York--Through a partnership with Google, Fossil Group will introduce smartwatches to the Android operating platform this year, both companies announced last week.

The news came as part of Google’s introduction of a new project called Android Wear, which extends Android to wearables. The project will first release watches, the “most familiar wearable,” the company said.

Features that will be available on the watches include a variety of Android applications that will allow wearers to received posts and updates from social apps, chats from preferred messaging apps, and notifications from shopping, news and photography apps, among others.

Through the spoken command “OK, Google,” the technology also allows users to get immediate answers to spoken questions or to make a command to get things done, such as calling a taxi or sending a text. The watch also will let wearers access and control other devices from their wrists, such as televisions.

“Most of us are rarely without our smartphones in hand,” Sundar Pichai, Google’s senior vice president of Android, Chrome and apps, wrote on the company’s blog. “But we're only at the beginning. We’ve barely scratched the surface of what’s possible with mobile technology.”

The watches are expected to come out later this year, but prices are not yet available.

Greg McKelvey, chief strategy and marketing officer for Fossil Group, said “We believe we are uniquely positioned to develop and bring to market products our fashion customers that marry the beauty of our designs, the promise of our brands, and now the function of new technology. Although still very much in the formative research and development stage, we are committed to playing an active role in the push toward wearable technology and helping to shape the fusion of fashion and technology.”


The Android operating system has already been used in Samsung’s Galaxy Gear smartwatches, though the Samsung later decided to switch from the system for the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo models. Android has since been replaced by the Tizen operating system for those versions.

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Google is just one of many tech giants that have entered the wearable tech category with smartwatches. The list of those involved also includes Sony, Nike, Nokia, Motorola, LG, and Samsung, as well as the much-anticipated Apple iWatch, but Google’s partnership with a fashion brand extends the focus on creating a product that will not only be functional but also have an aesthetic design that will appeal to consumers in a broader market. 

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