Hot on the heels of the Pixel Watch, Fossil has announced it’s launching its first-ever Wear OS 3 watch — the Gen 6 Wellness Edition. It’ll also introduce a new Wellness mobile app for health and fitness tracking, but unfortunately, this watch doesn’t feature Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon W5 Plus platform. The Gen 6 Wellness Edition will retail for $299, and it’s available starting October 17th.
The Gen 6 Wellness Edition looks like your typical Fossil device with its fashion smartwatch aesthetic. It’ll come in a 44mm case with a 1.28-inch always-on OLED display, as well as three color options: black, silver, or rose gold. It’ll be powered by the last-gen Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus chip with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of onboard storage. That’s the same as the one in the standard Gen 6.
As for what the Wellness Edition brings to the table, Wear OS 3 is the big kahuna. So far, it’s only available on the Pixel Watch, Samsung’s Galaxy Watch 4 and 5 lineups, and the Montblanc Summit 3. Fossil has made the vast majority of Wear OS watches in recent years under its various brands (i.e., Skagen, Michael Kors, etc.), so it’s likely we’re about to see a lot more Wear OS 3 options in the coming months. It also means a new UI and watch navigation that’s probably similar to what we’ve seen on Montblanc Summit 3. The watch will also link up with the redesigned Fossil Smartwatches app that launched with the Gen 6 Hybrid earlier this summer.
As far as smart features go, Wear OS 3 offers a better selection of optimized third-party apps in the Play Store. In its press release, Fossil emphasized apps like YouTube Music, Spotify, Facer, and Amazon Alexa. (Alexa was introduced on the Gen 6 earlier this year.) According to Android Central, it doesn’t appear that the Wellness Edition will have Google Assistant. Brook Eaton, VP of Product, Fossil Connected Devices Group confirmed this to The Verge, noting that the company isn’t sure when Assistant will be available for its Wear OS 3 watches. It’s a puzzling omission that was also mirrored on the Fitbit Sense 2 and Montblanc Summit 3, suggesting Google still has some work to do here.
The other big update is the new Wellness app, which gives Fossil watches a boost in the health and fitness tracking department. That includes SpO2 measurements, cardio fitness estimations using VO2 max, automatic workout detection, heart rate zones, improved sleep tracking, and continuous heart rate monitoring outside of workouts. Plenty of other smartwatches have already introduced these features ages ago, but Fossil has been a bit more hamstrung by Wear OS 2 and older Snapdragon Wear chips. It’s encouraging to see that Wear OS 3 allows Fossil to catch up in a meaningful way on the health front, even if it doesn’t have the latest chip.
As the name, features, and specs suggest, this isn’t a new flagship lineup so much as a repackaged Gen 6. It looks like we’ll have to wait a bit longer before the Gen 7 lineup arrives, hopefully packing newer hardware to keep Fossil’s wearables competitive. While that’s mildly disappointing, it’s not surprising. When Fossil was transitioning its watches from the 3100-powered Gen 5 lineup to the 4100-powered Gen 6, it launched the budget Gen 5E and Gen 5 LTE in the interim.
The Wellness Edition will be available starting October 17th, and Android Central quotes Fossil as saying that’s when Wear OS 3 upgrades to 4100-powered Fossil watches will start rolling out. That includes the Michael Kors Gen 6 and the Skagen Falster Gen 6. We’ve reached out to Google, but Eaton also confirmed the timing. Google has always said the upgrade would come this fall, and there’s not much reason to wait now that the Pixel Watch has hit shelves. In any case, it’s been a busy fall full of Wear OS 3 news — and it doesn’t seem like that’ll be letting up anytime soon.
Update, October 13, 2:45 PM ET: Updated to include answers from Fossil regarding Google Assistant and Wear OS 3 upgrade timing.
Update, October 18, 2:45 PM ET: Updated to note name of Fossil source.