How Fossil Keeps Its 18-Month-Old Smartwatch Feeling Like New

Fossil’s Gen 6 smartwatch line is sort of 18 months previous, however you would not know that from the corporate’s CES 2023 push. Fossil has discovered methods to make the Gen 6 line really feel extra related than ever, particularly by updating it to Put on OS 3 and launching new editions just like the Wellness model and a hybrid E Ink mannequin.

Conserving these watches contemporary is vital at a time when it is changing into more and more troublesome to discover a platform-agnostic watch that does not encourage you to decide to a complete ecosystem. Apple, Samsung and Google all place their smartwatches as complementary merchandise to accompany their telephones, earbuds and different merchandise. Fossil is likely one of the greatest manufacturers that also makes watches that work with Android or iOS units and helps Google’s Put on OS 3 software program.

“It is a very related platform for a while to come back,” mentioned Brook Eaton, Fossil’s vp of product. “We did a Put on [OS] 3 replace once we launched the [Gen 6] Wellness Version, we did one other replace that was fairly significant in December.” 

These efforts are additionally important as a result of Fossil’s Gen 6 line runs the danger of in any other case feeling outdated with the arrival of Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon W5 chips. The Gen 6 line, comparatively, runs on the older Snapdragon 4100 Plus chip from 2021.

Eaton additionally mentioned quarterly updates are deliberate for the Gen 6 line together with safety updates, however he couldn’t focus on whether or not a Gen 7 mannequin that includes a more recent chipset is within the works. Nevertheless, he did say that the Put on OS 3 expertise discovered on the Gen 6 will carry over to future watches. Which means future Fossil watches will proceed to be suitable with the iPhone and Android.

Google Assistant assist can also be nonetheless within the pipeline for Fossil’s watch. The Gen 6 at present makes use of Alexa, however Eaton mentioned Fossil is working with Google to get the Assistant working. Fossil’s app makes up for different Put on OS 3 options, akin to health monitoring, that are not included on the Gen 6. (For now, the one Put on OS watch that features Google’s Fitbit for health monitoring is the Pixel Watch.)

The Fossil Gen 6 Hybrid Wellness Version makes use of an E Ink show.


Fossil is not the one smartwatch maker conserving its units contemporary with new software program. Rival Mobvoi is in an identical place. It plans to replace the $200 TicWatch E3, which additionally runs on the Snapdragon 4100 Plus, to Put on OS 3. The Montblanc Summit already runs on Put on OS 3 and affords iOS and Android compatibility. However it begins at $1,290, making it far more costly than the $299 base worth for Fossil’s watches. In the meantime different Put on OS rivals just like the Pixel Watch and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch collection have remained Android-only watches, regardless that earlier Galaxy Watches have supported the iPhone.

The Falster Gen 6 Smartwatch, which is a rebrand of the Gen 6 for the Skagen model.


Fossil has additionally rebranded the Gen 6 watch and its accompanying app to accommodate sister manufacturers like Diesel and Skagen, which is one other approach the corporate is ready to maintain making the Gen 6 look new and totally different regardless of being in any other case equivalent on the within. Apps utilized by the Diesel and Skagen variations of the Gen 6 have been personalized to enchantment to the viewers that sometimes purchases watches from these manufacturers, says Eaton. These embody aesthetics like the colour scheme and messages within the “For You” part that direct customers to a model’s social media and store. The apps are in any other case functionally equivalent.

Fossil’s watch collaboration with Razer, which was revealed finally yr’s CES, is an exception to this strategy. Not like the Skagen and Diesel variations of the Gen 6, the Razer model syncs with the common Fossil app however consists of Razer-specific watchfaces.

Smartwatch makers with no branded cellphone are dwindling

Though Apple and Samsung at present dominate the smartwatch market, efforts from firms like Fossil are price monitoring exactly as a result of they don’t seem to be attempting to lock clients into an ecosystem of telephones, watches and earbuds. That is changing into more and more uncommon with different smartwatches. 

Pixel Watch vs. Galaxy Watch 5

Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 5 (left) and the Pixel Watch.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

Fitbit’s cross-platform compatibility all the time stored me coming again to its trackers and watches. Fitbit merchandise nonetheless work with the iPhone and Android. However Google’s efforts to bridge the Fitbit and Pixel Watch expertise make me fear that you will want certainly one of their Android-only watches to get the very best Fitbit expertise sooner or later. 

Samsung additionally used to assist each iOS and Android with their Galaxy Watch and Galaxy Match line. However as Samsung has grown extra centered on cultivating its personal Galaxy ecosystem of units, it is eliminated iPhone compatibility from its watches. It even locked the watch’s ECG characteristic to Galaxy units solely.

Other than Fossil, Mobvoi and Montblanc, Amazfit can also be persevering with to assist each the iPhone and Android utilizing its personal proprietary Zepp working system. This implies much less app assist, however its watches are capable of declare a 14-day battery life that is considerably longer than the one- to two-day battery life discovered on the Apple Watch, Galaxy watches and Pixel Watch. 

A view of the inside of a smartwatch, with each layer extended from the other, showing the W5 chip above a circuit board.

The Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 chip is the corporate’s next-generation silicon for wearables that extends battery life and helps cameras.


What’s subsequent for Put on OS watches

Though Fossil has discovered a technique to to maintain the Gen 6 going, smartwatches working the subsequent Snapdragon chip optimized for wearables are on the best way. The Snapdragon W5 is alleged to increase battery life by a day past present watches and supply extra performance in low-power mode in addition to assist for camera-enabled options. 

However there is no date introduced for when watches supporting these chips will hit the market. That in itself is perhaps an enormous motive Fossil is hoping to get extra runway out of the Snapdragon 4100 Plus chip and its Gen 6 lineup. 

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