Fossil updates its Gen 5 smartwatches with sleep tracking and more fitness features

Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge

Fossil has released a new update for its Gen 5 Wear OS smartwatches that add a variety of features to the watches that aren’t part of standard Wear OS, including sleep and VO2 max tracking.

The bulk of the new features Fossil is adding here can be categorized as improvements for activity tracking, with the update promising better real-time fitness tracking (like heart rate, pace, distance, steps, and calories) at half the power consumption by offloading those tasks from the main processor to the QCC1110 co-processor. Fossil is also adding sleep tracking — a missing feature so prominent the company had an FAQ page about it — and VO2 max tracking for your overall cardio fitness level.

Fossil is also updating its battery-saving modes, allowing users to create custom profiles for specific tasks and automatically prompting them to enable “extended mode” to help ensure a full 24 hours of battery life per charge. The improved battery mode settings are also a key part of how Fossil is enabling sleep tracking on these year-old watches.

Lastly, Fossil is adding an updated Phone app, which adds a new tile for quick access.

While many of these features are offered on competitors like the Apple Watch or Fitbit’s smartwatches, what’s most notable here is that Fossil has been left to add them itself, rather than Google encouraging these updates across the entire Wear OS ecosystem. In fact, compared to Wear OS’ planned fall update — which includes moderately faster app launching and a new weather app — Fossil’s update feels far more ambitious in its scope, especially given that its working on older hardware.

The new features should be rolling out now on Fossil’s Gen 5 smartwatches.

Comments

Sleep tracking feature in 1 day battery watch doesn’t seem like a good idea.

Agreed. But at least fossil is doing something with the platform. Maybe google should just give it to them to develop.

You can off-set that with Fossil’s fast charging. Give it 15 minutes before bedtime & it should hold out, take it off to recharge it when you wake up while you get ready for the day. It’s not ideal, but it’s an option given what they’re working with.

I’ve got the Gen 5 and the battery life is actually pretty reasonable. I record sleep using Sleep As Android then when I get up I stick the watch on charge, go take a shower and have a coffee and it’s 100% again.

It’s no stamina king but it’s workable.

I wonder if these updates will appear as well on the excellent Puma smartwatch, which I believe is made by Fossil…

I don’t think so – the Puma smartwatch very closely resembles in appearance and MSRP a Fossil Sport smartwatch, which is not a Gen 5. Sorry if that bursts your bubble

Most fashion brand smart watches are all made by Fossil Group, which in turn sources their guts from the same OEM factory. Each fashion brand only designs the shells. While current Puma watches may not have Gen 5 guts yet, they will eventually so just be patient. All you are doing is selecting the style/logo you want but the guts are always the same.

I still don’t like Fossil smart watches because battery life is terrible. They keep boasting better battery life each new generation but I struggle to get a full day unless I dramatically turn off most wireless and GPS features, which turns the watch into an expensive Timex digital watch. I get tired of taking off a watch mid-day to charge it and I used to leave it at the office or home on the charger and so it was never on my wrist when I actually needed to use it. There is no point to a smart watch if you can’t keep it on your wrist long enough to matter.

With Gen 5 it seems they haven’t improved battery life, just improved how long the watch stays on your wrist with most useful features turned off to still struggle to get a day of battery life out of it. Pass.

Thanks for the heads up – I just bought a Fossil Sport for $99 just to see how I like having a smartwatch and figured it wasn’t a big commitment. It would be cool if they get the Gen 5 upgrade. Some users have claimed huge gains in battery life by tinkering with the OS settings. We shall see…

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