As I tested the new Fossil Gen 6 smartwatch, I was struck by how Wear OS calcified into a poor software platform that really didn’t convince me to stray from my iOS ecosystem. . I’m not saying the Apple Watch is for everyone, but it still seems like the best option, and I’m not convinced to change.
Unfortunately, my opinion is largely affected by the odd territoriality of smartwatches and phone operating systems: Apple watches only work with iPhones, while the latest Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 only works with Android. (against the tendency of its predecessors to multi-OS compatibility). Watches that support both mobile operating systems, however, are stuck with Wear OS 2.0, which hasn’t been upgraded in years.
It’s an unfortunate reality, forcing consumers to choose their exclusive ecosystem in a way that is as unnecessary as it is embarrassingly backward. It has never been cool for Apple to keep Apple Watch compatibility only with iOS devices, although we can reluctantly understand how much more seamless interactions you can make by focusing solely on your internal operating system. But locking the Galaxy Watch 4 on iOS looks like a loss, especially since it prevents the new Wear OS 3 from going along with watchOS.
The Fossil Gen 6 is the compromise that works with both Android and iOS devices, but sadly it won’t be upgraded to Wear OS 3 until 2022. In the meantime, potential buyers are stuck in limbo. current Wear OS 2.0, which hasn’t had much refinement in years, pending new features and integrations with Android 12 (like a watch face that matches your phone’s color scheme via Material You).
All of Fossil Gen 6’s speed through its Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus chipset is wasted on an aging interface – these smooth transitions only switch between some basic apps that are downloaded by default. I also have to manually reconnect the watch to my iPhone quite frequently, a condition that may not extend to Android phones. And it’s not like upgrading to a Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 is a good alternative – I would literally have to switch my phone’s OS, which is easy to do as a reviewer but hard to ask for most. consumers, especially since some features are only accessible if you have a Samsung phone.
My Apple Watch stays on until I have a good reason to switch
And really, what I’m saying here isn’t what the best smartwatch you can buy – I’m talking about inertia, and that there’s no real reason to stray from a configuration that works because the evolution of the watch seems even more icy than it is. in phones. Overall, smartwatches did not receive any significant new features in 2021, and the previous year only added blood oxygen measurements via SpO2 sensors, following the widespread adoption of the ECG in 2019 – which are important features for users who are particularly concerned about sleep apnea or cardiac arrhythmia. , but not very useful for most people.
Instead, what keeps me from using my Apple Watch 5 is the inertia and lack of an exciting reason to upgrade, let alone switch to a Wear OS watch. What would it take? The same connection continues with my phone, for starters, but also some of the other benefits of seamless integration, like the intuitive adoption of the same focus mode that my iPhone is set to (or at least not disturb), the integration of my calendar appointments, and the sharing of simple tasks like timers. Having an app that works as a trigger for phone cameras is the kind of contact I’m talking about.
It’s a shame, because I sincerely believe that the Fossil Gen 6 and Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 are the most stylish smartwatches you can buy – they have the panache of traditional watch design that the Apple lacks. Bulbous and square watch. In many ways, the Fossil Gen 6 is the best traditional-looking watch we’ve got that still works with iOS and Android phones (just above the TicWatch Pro 3, in my opinion), but I appreciate it. ultimately interoperability more than appearance.
Other people might think differently, and that’s okay – in this post, at least, I’m not trying to steer buyers in one direction or another. (If you’re looking, check out our best smartwatch page for real buying advice.) But the options in wearable markets are few, let alone now that Samsung has integrated its Tizen operating system into it. Googles Wear OS 3. If you haven’t felt motivated to upgrade to an expensive new smartwatch, I don’t blame you – and just as much expect to get carried away by some jaw-dropping watch features.
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- Apple Watch Series 7: Why I will wait for my upgrade
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