Mon. Aug 15th, 2022

When I tested the new Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch, I was struck by how Wear OS has calcified to a mediocre software platform that has really not convinced me to move away from my iOS ecosystem. I’m not saying the Apple Watch is for everyone, but it still feels like the best solution out there, and I’m not convinced to switch.

Unfortunately, my opinion is heavily influenced by the unequal territoriality of smartwatches and phone operating systems: Apple Watches only work with iPhones, while the latest Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 only works with Androids (bucking its predecessor’s tendency for multi-OS compatibility). However, watches that support both mobile operating systems are stuck with Wear OS 2.0, which has not been upgraded for years.

It is an unfortunate reality and one that forces consumers to choose their exclusive ecosystem in ways that are as unnecessary as they are embarrassingly retrograde. It’s never been cool for Apple to keep Apple Watch compatibility exclusively with iOS devices, though we’ll conflictingly understand how much more seamlessly you can make interactions by focusing on just your internal operating system. But locking the Galaxy Watch 4 out of iOS feels like a loss, especially since it prevents the new Wear OS 3 from going toe-to-toe with watchOS.

Fossil Gen 6

(Image credit: Future)

Fossil Gen 6 is the compromise that works with both Android and iOS devices, but unfortunately it will not be upgraded to Wear OS 3 until 2022. Meanwhile, potential buyers are stuck in a limbo with handling the current Wear OS 2.0 , which has not had much refinement for years while waiting for new features and integrations with Android 12 (like a dial that matches your phone’s color palette through Material You).

All of Fossil Gen 6’s speed via its Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus chipset is wasted on an aging interface — these smooth transitions only switch between some basic downloaded-by-default apps. I also need to manually restore the watch to my iPhone on a fairly frequent basis, a condition that may not apply to Android phones. And it’s not like switching to a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a good alternative – I would literally have to switch phone operating systems, which is easy to do as a reviewer, but a tough ask for most consumers, especially since some features are only available if you have a Samsung phone.

Apple Event September 2021

(Image credit: Apple)

My Apple Watch stays on until I have a good reason to switch

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