The Fossil Q Founder is one of the newest smartwatches to Android Wear and the Google Store, but it seems as though Fossil is playing up Android Wear for iOS (iOS compatibility) as the smartwatch’s main selling point – which has little to do with what Android Wear or the Q Founder in and of itself can provide users.
The evidence for such a claim comes from the February 2016 edition of Esquire magazine, in which Fossil advertises its Android Wear-powered Q Founder alongside of an iPhone, with the following words beneath the smartwatch name: “A smartwatch with touchscreen functionality and classic good looks.” In other words, Fossil is hoping the good looks of the Q Founder will be enough to sway iPhone users.
Fossil makes the best of its new smartwatch by playing up the capabilities
Fossil is to be applauded for playing up the Q Founder’s capabilities, namely the fact that you can pair the Android Wear-powered smartwatch with an iPhone or an Android phone. For Fossil, though, marketing is key, and Fossil assumes that the majority of the Esquire Magazine readership (a men’s magazine, for ladies who may not know) favors the iPhone when it comes to smartphones. Whether or not that’s true, it seems as though Fossil is convinced of this; otherwise, why make an ad that promotes the iPhone instead of Android Wear (the Q Founder’s smartwatch platform)?
The problem with Fossil’s approach
Fossil is doing all it can to market its own Android Wear smartwatch to iPhone users, with Android Wear for iOS at the heart of it all. The problem with Fossil’s approach is that it doesn’t take into account that all Android Wear smartwatches have iOS compatibility – thanks to Android Wear for iOS. In other words, Fossil’s Q Founder isn’t exceptional in this regard, which pretty much means that Fossil’s ad has little to say about the Q Founder specifically (as opposed to all of Android Wear).
This is a problem that, sadly, goes right back to Google. Google has crafted Android Wear to remain uniform in software, different in hardware. When you have this “hands-off” approach for manufacturers to your platform as Google has done, is it any wonder why no Android Wear smartwatch stands out? How can they stand out when they are, hardware aside, the same? Even in the hardware, there are slight differences in appearance. Huawei’s smartwatches for women, the Watch Jewel and Watch Elegant, are the most distinct smartwatches in Android Wear. This isn’t good news for Android Wear.
Google has said that Android OEMs cannot modify Android Wear software, so each Android Wear smartwatch (outside of the Casio WSD-F10, which isn’t sold at the Google Store) runs the same software and offers the same experience on-screen. We can sit and blame Fossil for bad advertising, but what can Fossil do when Google’s tied the company’s hands with the Q Founder?
Fossil’s marketing struggle with the Q Founder is native to all Android Wear smartwatches: because they all run Android Wear and Google has opened up compatibility to iOS, they all run the same software, and they all mandate Bluetooth connections with smartphones to operate as they should, there’s very little to distinguish them.
And in a competitive market, if you can’t stand out because of features or design or mobile OS, there’s very little to set your smartwatch apart. Hence Fossil’s Q Founder “flounder.”