Being a fan of both wearables and Android is tough. Apple has clearly seen huge success with the Apple Watch, but it only integrates with the iPhone. On the Google side of the fence, we have Wear OS. Samsung recently hopped back on the Wear OS bandwagon with a new version of Google’s software, but other device makers are stuck with the old version. Case in point, Fossil just announced its long-awaited Gen 6 smartwatches running the old version of Wear, with price tags on par with the latest from Samsung.
With Samsung’s return to Wear OS, Google finally has reason to pay attention to its wearable platform. It seems like Samsung has some sort of exclusivity period for Wear OS 3.0 because the new Gen 6 Fossil watches still run the old Wear OS 2 software. That means you won’t get the enhanced health features or new apps like the long-overdue version of YouTube Music for watches.
If you haven’t been paying attention to Wear OS in recent years (and who could blame you?), it may seem strange that Fossil has any notable impact on wearables. However, it has almost single-handedly kept Wear OS afloat all these years. When Motorola, ZTE, Asus, and others pulled back from wearables, Fossil kept pumping out smartwatches—technically, many copies of the same few watches with different cases, but that’s beside the point. Almost all Wear OS devices over the past few years have been from Fossil.
The Fossil Gen 6 comes in seven different styles, from bulky and masculine to slightly less bulky and feminine. Inside, they all have the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon 4100+. That chip is among the best you’ll find in a smartwatch not built by Apple, featuring four Cortex A53 cores, an improved GPU, and an always-on co-processor for low-power mode. It’s probably faster than the usual War OS fodder, but the features won’t be any different.
Despite being shut out of Wear OS 3, Fossil is still charging a premium for these devices. The various styles are priced between $300 and $320, which is what you’d pay for a Samsung Galaxy Watch4 with the new Wear OS. That seems like a tough sell for Fossil, but it will probably start putting these devices on sale in the not-too-distant future, as it usually does. Google has suggested that its wearable partners will be able to update to Wear OS 3 in the second half of next year. So, don’t pick up the new Fossil watches hoping to see the next generation of Wear OS any time soon.
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