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Fossil's first smartwatch with LTE might come soon

Whether or not it's a meaningful improvement is another matter.

Published onDecember 22, 2020

fossil gen 5 smartwatch review on wrist watch face display 1
  • Fossil’s Gen 5 smartwatch may have surfaced at the FCC with LTE.
  • You can also expect NFC and other creature comforts.
  • Whether or not it uses a Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip is still a mystery.

Fossil’s Gen 6 smartwatches might still be in limbo, but that isn’t ruling out some new models before then. Fossil has passed an unnamed Wear OS watch (model number C1N) through the FCC, hinting at a possible Gen 5 variant with built-in LTE data — the company’s first LTE-capable smartwatch.

The FCC docs don’t reveal the potential Gen 5 design beyond its circular display, but it’s clear Fossil is aiming at North American users with LTE on frequencies for carriers like Verizon (disclaimer: this author also writes for Verizon-owned Engadget). You can also expect the virtually mandatory Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Google Pay-friendly NFC.

Read more: The best Fossil smartwatches

There are no clues as to a release date for a Fossil Gen 5 LTE smartwatch. We wouldn’t count on a CES 2021 debut, but the timing could easily clear the path for a release early in the new year.

This might be slightly disappointing if it isn’t Gen 6. Like many Wear OS smartwatches, Fossil’s Gen 5 hardware uses the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip first announced in 2018. You wouldn’t get the speed and battery life improvements of the Wear 4100, both of which could help an LTE-equipped watch designed to be used away from your phone.

With that said, a Fossil Gen 5 with LTE could still be a viable smartwatch option if you don’t mind the aging internals. We liked the original model due in part to Fossil’s customizations, such as its special battery modes and watch faces. Those perks should remain intact. While you probably shouldn’t rush to upgrade unless you’ve been craving cellular data in a Fossil watch, it could be justifiable if you’re using older Google-powered wristwear.

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