Fossil won't upgrade current Wear OS watches to the new platform

Fossil Gen 5E
Fossil Gen 5E (Image credit: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

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 Gen 5E and Samsung Galaxy Watch Active

Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central Both of these watches are shunned from the new platform. (Image credit: Source: Ara Wagoner / Android Central)

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.

Ticwatch Pro 3 Vs Galaxy Watch Active

Source: Chris Wedel / Android Central (Image credit: Source: Chris Wedel / Android Central)

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.

Ara Wagoner was a staff writer at Android Central. She themes phones and pokes YouTube Music with a stick. When she's not writing about cases, Chromebooks, or customization, she's wandering around Walt Disney World. If you see her without headphones, RUN. You can follow her on Twitter at @arawagco.

14 Comments
  • Android and smartwatches are a joke! Apple has well and truely nailed this segment.
  • Android is not a joke, it's the most advanced and popular OS in the world with endless possibilities and choice along with the awesome customisation that Android offers.
  • On devices outside smartwatches yes, but at this moment in time with Tizen being replaced with Wear OS etc the whole android smartwatch landscape is a joke. Like I said above Apple have this segment nailed! and if Google ever cared or had any ambition they should have hardware or a Pixel Watch out a long long time ago. Rumours a Pixel Watch is finally coming but we are approaching the Apple Watch 7 now!
  • Each day I am glad I jumped ship to Apple from this dumpster fire they call Android.
  • Why are you here then
  • Same as you, to comment.
  • Apple Watch is still a pain to use in 2021. The mini walled garden on your wrist
  • This fossil won't the only ones that will do this, I personally will get a Fitbit and would rather get that over am Apple Watch even though I know it is the best Smartwatch on the market, I probably will get am Apple Watch because of my sister but I'd rather have a Fitbit than what's available on Android right now.
  • People were expecting fossil to spend money on developing for old watches? Lol. The current watches will still work. The gen 5 is a couple of years old. No way they are going to find people reasons not to buy their better watches.
  • Just buy a Garmin! Easy peasy!
  • Did this really surprise anyone? Come on now the bigger shock would be if Fossil did allow for upgrades.
    Seriously it's named Fossil! Obsolescence is clearly the brand name... Now as for the Android haters, you ignorance in on full display for the rest of us to see.
    We've enjoyed its freedom and options since day one. Hows your walled garden treating you?
    Hows your Stockholm syndrome therapy going?
  • I'm not a Android hater, I'm fully in the Samsung Eco system Note 20 Ultra, Galaxy Watch 3, Buds Live, Tab S7 Plus but when it comes to smartwatches the truth is Android just isn't very good. I mentioned Apple because they are the smartwatch leader by a country mile! you'll pay alot for one but like everything else they do they'll do right it will be update and support for years unlike these Jokers like Fossil etc
  • Target has the Fossil Gen 5e smartwatch for $179 today (I think the whole week also). Should I buy one or wait if Gen 6 will come out soon/eventually?
  • No. The chip in the Gen 5 will let you down.