Google Assistant vanished on many smartwatches when the Wear OS 3 update arrived, leaving just the Pixel Watch and Samsung's newer Galaxy Watches supporting the feature. Thankfully, you no longer have to switch brands just to talk to Google on your wrist. Fossil is rolling out an update this month that adds Assistant to Gen 6 watches running Wear OS 3. This includes both Fossil's own models as well as counterparts from Diesel, Michael Kors and Skagen, although you'll need to be paired with a phone running standard Android with Google apps (Android Go and many Chinese phones won't count).
The functionality will be familiar if you've used either Google or Samsung wristwear. You can invoke the AI helper by saying "hey Google," holding a button or tapping a watch face complication. The feature lets you answer texts, control music or otherwise handle tasks that would normally require your phone. Unlike many alternatives, though, you'll also have Alexa on hand. You won't be locked into one ecosystem for speaking commands.
This won't be much help if you're using a Wear OS 3 watch from another brand, like Mobvoi or Montblanc. Fossil is one of the most popular names in Google-powered smartwatches, though. Support here ensures that many more wearable owners can use Assistant and avoid tapping a minuscule screen.
You might want to wait before purchasing if you're new to smartwatches. Fossil historically introduces new Wear OS models in late summer, with the exception being this year's mildly upgraded Gen 6 Wellness Edition in January. While there's no word on when Gen 7 will arrive or what it might entail, it's likely to be a significant upgrade if and when it appears — we wouldn't buy Gen 6 just because Assistant is ready. The update is more for existing owners who lost functionality last year.