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Google’s announcement of the brand-new Wear OS built in partnership with Samsung wasn’t as comprehensive as we would’ve liked it. While we did see a glimpse of some new elements and apps, Google wasn’t clear on whether existing watches would receive the platform’s biggest update. Fossil broke silence on this, and if you own one of its smartwatches, you won’t like what it has to say.
In an interview with CNET, company executives have confirmed that the new update won’t make it to any of Fossil’s existing smartwatches, including the Fossil Gen 5 LTE it launched a few months ago. No clear reason for this was given but the cynical assumption would be that it’s all about selling you the upcoming Fossil Gen 6.
“We’ve got a full set of some pretty major hardware upgrades that we already planned,” said Steve Prokup, senior vice president of connected devices.
The watchmaker confirms that its new hardware will run the updated Wear platform, have a faster and more efficient processor, and offer LTE options in more global markets. It could also feature advanced health features like SP02 tracking, something the current generation of Fossil watches lack. With all the upgrades, it’s safe to expect that the watch will find a place in the upper echelons of Android timepieces.
Hybrid smartwatches also come up in the conversation, but this won’t be a primary focus since they’re not as popular as regular smartwatches.
If Fossil is unable to bring the new Wear OS to current hardware, I’m not optimistic about other companies. It’s unclear whether this is a business decision or due to technical limitations, but I very much hope it’s not the latter.
Statement from Fossil
Fossil has reached out to us with a statement, which states that the Gen 5 and the Gen 5E will receive new features with future updates even if they don’t get the all-new version of Wear OS. If you cut through the PR speak, it also seems to suggest that not being able to ship the new OS to these watches might be a limitation from Google’s end, rather than a decision made by Fossil. We’ll have to wait and see if more information comes out about this.
At Fossil, our product and engineering teams continue to innovate on the Gen 5 and Gen 5E smartwatches, which will result in new software features being launched later this year and into next year. With regards to the operating system, we will be leveraging the unified platform announced at I/O, and our policy is to bring the maximum amount of innovation that Google will enable to each of our generation of smartwatches. Future upgrade plans are still being developed, and we will continue to make announcements later this year.