The kindest thing I can say about the new $299 Gen 6 iteration of
Fossil’s long-running smartwatch series is this: it’s not entirely
Fossil’s fault that it’s bad.
The company reportedly learned that Google and Samsung had
teamed up to finally revitalize the Wear OS software Fossil’s been
using at the same time we did: this past May at Google IO. And so
Fossil’s 2021 smartwatch lineup is running software that hasn’t
been meaningfully improved since at least 2019 and it won’t
receive the latest software until late 2022. Samsung has
smartwatches that run on Wear OS 3 and do so competently, Fossil
is stuck on Wear OS 2.
Running old software is not inherently a bad thing — old software
is often battle tested, reliable, and fast. Sadly, none of those
adjectives apply here and Fossil compounded Wear OS 2’s issues by
cramming in features it’s unable to support.
Maybe in the long run, hitting the reset button on Wear OS will prove to be a solid strategy. But in the meantime, it’s rather astonishing how Apple is just running away with the smartwatch market.