The smartwatch market seems to finally be improving, if only in small increments. Today, Fossil unveiled another increment: the Gen 6 series. These new smartwatches will go on sale later next month. They’re up for pre-order now and start at $299.
Fossil isn’t making any major strides with the outer design of the Gen 6 series, nor is it straying far from what it’s offered in the past. Instead, it’s promising a solid spec bump and an eventual upgrade to Wear OS 3, Google and Samsung’s combined OS that’s robust enough to stand a chance against Apple’s wearOS dominance.
That’s a hard feat to accomplish, and it’ll take manufacturers committing to eventual upgrades to the software for it to gain any traction. Unfortunately, Fossil says you’ll have to wait until 2022 for the update, and that’ll likely translate to the second half of the year given how Google has said updates will begin shipping to existing watches in “late 2022.” Still, at the very least Wear OS 3 will roll out to these new watches – it’ll just take a little while.
The Gen 6’s spec bump, as I mentioned before, is driven by Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 4100+ processor. The chip is apparently a more powerful version of the Snapdragon 4100 that offers improved performance, battery life, and faster charging. It’s paired with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of storage (a.k.a. Not Enough Storage).
Fossil is also adding an upgraded heart rate sensor and an SpO2 sensor for measuring your blood oxygen levels.
There’s a 1.28-inch OLED touchscreen across every model, regardless of whether you get a 42mm or 44mm case size. Each model has 3ATM water resistance (splashes and light swimming are okay), “over 24 hours” of battery life, and Google Pay support thanks to integrated NFC.
One thing the Gen 6 series is missing is LTE. I’m not sure why Fossil dropped it from this generation, but if you were looking for a Wear OS-powered watch that can be independent of your phone, Fossil isn’t offering one.
Fossil is selling both standard stainless steel models of the Gen 6 as well as Michael Kors models. The 42mm models start at $299, while the 44mm models start at $319. Various bands and colors are offered so you’re not stranded with just a black or silver watch.