Fossil has announced its fifth-generation Wear OS watch, which is called, appropriately, the Gen 5. And with this new device, Fossil isn’t giving us quite the same song and dance from previous years.
Aside from some welcome spec improvements, which I’ll get into below, this is the first Wear OS watch that will be able to take calls from a tethered iPhone. (The feature is already available for Android phones.) Countless Wear OS watches before have been able to alert iPhone users that a call is inbound, but Fossil’s latest will actually let you listen to and answer calls through the watch itself. Unfortunately, this functionality will be missing on the August 5th release date; according to Fossil, it will arrive OTA in the form of a proprietary app sometime this fall. According to a Fossil spokesperson, “No action is required from your iPhone. The watch becomes another way to take your call via Bluetooth.” It’s not iMessage support, but it’s something.
Fossil is also focusing on longer battery life, with new modes that it claims will let the watch last for multiple days on a single charge. An “Extended Battery Mode” setting allows multiday battery life while keeping notifications and heart rate monitoring active. “Time-Only Mode,” which displays just the time, can be switched on when the battery is running low or just to avoid distractions. Fossil hasn’t specified how long the Gen 5 watches will last on this mode. Most users, however, are expected to keep their watches in “Daily Mode,” which enables everything, including the always-on display.