If you’re thinking of buying a Wear OS watch right now – don’t. That’s the conclusion we’re drawing from a new interview with Fossil execs, that sheds some light on the future of Wear OS devices.
In an interview with CNet (which is well worth reading) Fossil's Chief Commercial Officer Greg McKelvey clarified some details about the future of Fossil devices. Yes, the Gen 6 will launch with similar features as the forthcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 – but here’s possibly the critical detail: older devices won’t get the love.
“McKelvey sees the most likely outcome being previous-year models eventually being discounted, much like Apple's watch line-up tiers. Existing Fossil Google Wear watches won't be upgradable to the new Wear OS software platform,” the report says.
Since Google announced it was to unify Wear OS with Tizen, we’ve speculated about what that might mean for current gen devices, in the face of zero information from Google or OEMs. Wear OS updates don’t always make it to all legacy devices at the best of times, though Fossil is pretty good at getting its latest devices kitted out with new features.
So the announcement that Fossil won’t (or can’t because of hardware requirements) give any of its devices the new Wear update should be a huge warning: Wear OS is off limits.
We couldn’t recommend anyone getting a Wear OS device at full price, when a massive update is around the corner.
Of course, the benefits of a revamped Wear OS should filter down to older devices. A better app ecosystem, driven by Samsung and Google’s appeal to devs, will be a massive benefit to those with Wear OS devices already.
But new features such as Fitbit-driven health tracking, app switching and (marginally) better battery life looks like that won’t be available to those with current Wear OS devices.
Wear OS is getting a fresh start – but it looks like it will need fresh hardware to do it.
And of course, there’s no confirmation from other Wear OS manufacturers, namely Mobvoi, Oppo and Suunto, that their devices won’t be upgraded.
So for now at least the message is clear – don’t buy a Wear OS device.
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