Misfit, one of the grand old brands in consumer wearables, had a couple of surprises at CES; one obvious, the other less so.
The obvious one was the unveiling of its Vapor smartwatch, which abandons Misfit’s signature design language. From the first, Misfits trackers have been small aluminum disks (or later, tubes) with only subtle LEDs as indicators and year-long battery life. The Vapor — due at the end of this year — is pretty much the opposite: a full-display full-color smartwatch.
We had a long conversation with a Misfit product manager, who said the Vapor would fill a missing piece of the larger Misfit/Fossil product portfolio. Fossil, which bought Misfit a little more than a year ago, has release more than 100 smartwatches since the acquisition, all of them using some variant of the classic face-with-hands watch look. Even the Misfit brand now has a classic watchface tracker, the Phase. The Vapor, with its touch screen, GPS, and music player, takes its place at the high functional end of the line.
Pricing and precise availability were not announced, although 4Q16 is a good bet. Let’s hope that the Vapor isn’t, well, vapor.
The other interesting thing at Misfit was the apparent departure of the Intel/Google technology stack. Last year, those two giants were shipping a module that vendors could use as a shortcut to quickly get to market with smartwatches.
But Misfit’s newest watches — one set carrying the Armani brand, and the Misfit Phase — do not feature the Intel/Google puck, and appear to use Misfit/Fossil’s own electronics. We asked why Fossil is rolling its own technology stack, and if the Intel/Google module was still available at all. Interestingly, we got a hummna-hummna kind of answer. We’ll report more when we learn more.
For more coverage from CES 2017, click on the CES2017 tag.