‘Tis the season for flagship smartwatches, and the latest to leak is Fossil’s forthcoming Gen 6. It’ll be the first Fossil watch to sport Qualcomm’s current Snapdragon Wear 4100+ chip, and will be one of the first non-Samsung smartwatches to run to the new Wear OS. Eventually.
The leak comes courtesy of German tech site WinFuture, and at least in terms of design, it doesn’t seem like Fossil’s rocking the boat much. Fair enough—Samsung decided to stick with the familiar for its new Wear OS watches as well. And as always, there seems like there are approximately 50,000 colorways and strap options for both men and women. The Gen 6 renders hint we’ll see a 1.28-inch OLED display in either a 42 or 44mm case. In terms of health features, the Gen 6 will supposedly support SpO2, cardio fitness levels, and sleep tracking on top of the typical metrics like steps and activity goals. There will also be GPS support and an estimated battery life of 24 hours.
None of this is super surprising. Shortly after Google and Samsung announced they were working on a unified Wear OS, Fossil executives were quick to say the company was working on a new flagship. At the time, they promised global LTE options, faster performance, and better battery life—while also dropping the bomb that the company’s current watches would not be upgraded to Wear OS 3. Given that we know the Gen 6 will sport a 4100+ chip, that doesn’t bode well for any Android smartwatch powered by a 3100 chip.
That said, there’s reason to be a little wary. Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform is a significant step up but is still using outdated 12nm tech. Despite launching over a year ago, it only powers a small handful of watches—with Fossil’s stable of Android smartwatches notably missing. Instead of launching a 4100-powered Gen 6 watch last fall, Fossil instead opted to release a cheaper Gen 5E and an LTE version of its 2019 Gen 5. Google also noted last month that not every smartwatch would be eligible to upgrade to Wear OS 3, and those that are won’t be getting it until at least mid-2022.
“For the previous generation of Wear OS smartwatches, a system update to Wear OS 3 will bring the benefit of many new experiences, and in some limited cases, the user experience will be impacted,” Google wrote. Not too long after, Qualcomm launched a wearable accelerator program and quietly noted it planned to roll out a new Snapdragon Wear platform in the next year. All this perhaps hints that while 4100-powered watches will be able to run Wear OS 3, they might not be beefy enough to unlock the platform’s full potential.
This isn’t to say the Gen 6 will be bad. The leaked specs alone hint it’ll be a much-needed improvement on the Gen 5 and its variants. It’s more to say that the Gen 6 might be a transitional watch for Fossil as Qualcomm rushes to put out a wearable chip that doesn’t suck. And depending on how soon next year the next-gen Snapdragon Wear platform arrives, this might be a flagship with a shorter-than-average lifespan.
WinFuture estimates the Gen 6 will likely go on sale on Sept. 27 for €299 or €329—or somewhere in the $350-$400 range. With that timeline, it means we’ll likely hear the official deets from Fossil in the coming weeks.