What you need to know
- Fossil admits none of its current Wear OS watches will see the new Wear platform.
- Fossil was hyping premium watches coming later this year that will be powered by the new platform to CNET when it confirmed what we've been dreading for weeks.
- Considering all Fossil watches were powered by either the Wear 3100 or 2100, this isn't surprising, but it's still a major disappointment to anyone who bought a Fossil watch in the last year or two.
Now's both a wonderful and terrible time to be an Android smartwatch fan. On the one hand, Google and Samsung are finally teaming up to give us the new Wear platform that we've wanted for years. On the other hand, it means that it's hard to recommend buying any of the best Android smartwatches today, because we already know that no Tizen watches will get the new system, and there's a giant question mark looming over whether any current Wear OS watches get the new system.
Fossil has answered that question with a big fat ❌ during a discussion with CNET about the future of Fossil's watches. Fossil is prepping a premium smartwatch to take full advantage of the new system and new hardware in the space, and in a single sentence dashed the hopes of thousands of Fossil watch owners:
"Existing Fossil Google Wear watches won't be upgradable to the new Wear OS software platform."
The new system is a major upgrade and will draw from the best of both Wear OS and Tizen, so it makes sense that this new system won't be easy to port to current watches, especially the older Wear 3100 system-on-a-chip (SoC) that Fossil's used over the newer-but-much-more-expensive Wear 4100. We've seen the limitations of the Wear 3100 on recent Fossil watches like the Fossil Gen 5E, but considering the Gen 5E has been out for less than a year, that's highly unfortunate for anyone who has purchased a Fossil watch in recent months.
Fossil choosing to make a clean break between the current Wear watches and the new Wear platform makes a certain amount of sense, and it helps explain the deep discounting these watches have seen over the last several months. It also means that even at $100, the Gen 5E or any current Fossil watch isn't worth buying now — or ever, considering there's little purpose in buying a watch with the current rendition of Wear OS now that a new — and hopefully much more optimized — version is finally within reach this fall.
We've reached out to Fossil for confirmation and an explanation on the decision-making here. In the meantime, our attention turns to Mobvoi and the hope that there will be at least one watch that upgrades from the old to the new Wear OS. If any watch can do it, it'll be the TicWatch Pro 3 and its Wear 4100, but Mobvoi has yet to detail which is any of its watches will get the upgrade.
In the meantime, I say this as an Android smartwatch lover: do not buy any smartwatch until the new Wear platform watches are announced in August — when we expect to see the Galaxy Watch 4 — and October, when we expect to see the Pixel Watch launch alongside the Pixel 6. If you need anything between now and then, either tide yourself over with the Mi Band 6 or grab a refurbished Galaxy Watch Active, which is going for under $100 on Amazon and is what I'm using myself right now.