Fossil just announced the Gen 5 Smartwatch, the company’s fifth-generation smartwatch, and there’s actually a neat reason for iPhone users to buy it: its the first Wear OS smartwatch that can take calls from a tethered iPhone. This means that instead of just alerting you that you’re getting a call, which many Wear OS smartwatches can do, you’ll be able to answer the call on the Gen 5 Smartwatch. No need to pull out your iPhone to answer a call if you don’t want to.
There’s a catch, however: the iPhone tethering feature isn’t available on the Gen 5 Smartwatch at launch. As The Verge‘s Cameron Faulkner writes, the functionality “will arrive OTA in the form of a proprietary app sometime this fall.”
Obviously, the Apple Watch is able to answer calls from your iPhone and much more. Fossil’s Gen 5 Smartwatch still won’t support iMessage, for example, so you won’t be able to answer messages directly from the smartwatch. And it won’t be able to work other iOS apps, like Apple’s Health app. But the call tethering capability might entice some iPhone owners who want a smartwatch with a more traditional watch design. Or those who just don’t want to spend as big on the latest Apple Watch ($349+). The Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch starts at $295.
The new smartwatch is packed with a bunch of new-age specs, including a Qualcomm Snapdragon 3100 processor, up to 8GB of storage and up to 1GB of RAM (both twice as much as Fossil’s Gen 4 smartwatch). And it has a swimproof speaker, meaning it doesn’t need an additional mesh barrier like its previous generation smartwatches to keep out water. Lastly, the new processor enables an “extended battery mode”; the Gen 5 can last several days on a signal charge, while still keeping track of your heart rate.
The Fossil Gen 5 Smartwatch is available in six different color-and-strap combos.