If you wanted to spruce up a Wear OS smartwatch lineup knowing that you were stuck with the same hardware that most companies had been using for over a year, what would you do? For Diesel, the answer is simple: tart it up with an attention-getting design. The Fossil brand has unveiled a unisex On Fadelite watch whose centerpieces are the translucent case (including an iridescent model) and matching transparent strap options like red to black, black to clear, blue to clear and all clear. It's not quite a Google-powered Swatch, but it comes close.
Beyond that, it's the same old Wear OS hardware you've seen in other recent Fossil watches, including the requisite Snapdragon Wear 3100 as well as a speaker, GPS, heart rate tracking and NFC for Google Pay. As usual, the standouts reside in the software. It'll come with Spotify pre-loaded, a weather tile (first seen in May) and a Globe watch face that shows up to two extra time zones.
The On Fadelight reaches stores in March for $275. That's not an outrageous price, but it might be a tough sell if that attention-getting design does nothing for you. We lumped Wear OS in with the worst tech of 2019 for a reason -- not because it's bad (it's adequate), but because Google's smartwatch platform is currently stagnant. You may have to wait until the Fitbit acquisition and other upgrades before you see functional advances.