Qualcomm Has New Smartwatch Chips, But Who Will Use Them?


Most smartwatches based mostly on Android or Google’s Put on OS platform use Snapdragon System-on-a-Chip (SoC) designs from Qualcomm. The corporate introduced a pair of latest smartwatch chips right now, however will they be utilized in in style watches?

Snapdragon W5 and W5+

Qualcomm has two new chipsets for smartwatches, the Snapdragon W5 and W5+, meant as successors to the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+ (present in watches just like the Fossil Gen 6), respectively. Each chips are constructed with a 4nm course of (down from 12nm on the 4100+), which ought to enhance energy effectivity and efficiency, and the bodily dimension is 30% smaller. Bluetooth 5.3 can also be commonplace throughout each chips.

Snapdragon W5+ hardware diagram

That’s about the place the similarities finish, a minimum of based mostly on the knowledge Qualcomm supplied — the corporate isn’t speaking a lot concerning the common W5. Similar to the Put on 4100+ earlier than it, the W5+ chip has a low-power co-processor that takes over some features from the primary chip when the smartwatch isn’t actively getting used.

The principle profit to the co-processor is improved battery life. In comparison with the Put on 4100+, Qualcomm says the W5+ makes use of 42% much less energy with the always-on show, 39% much less energy in LTE standby, and 36% much less energy when streaming music to Bluetooth headphones.

Battery usage graphs on Snapdragon W5+

There are additionally a number of efficiency enhancements, however solely in particular use instances — it’s clear Qualcomm’s precedence this time round was extending battery life, not making watches sooner. The Snapdragon Put on W5+ has the identical 4 Cortex A53 cores because the 4100+, however the GPU has been swapped from an Adreno 504 to an Adreno 702, which Qualcomm says will assist with 3D maps and different graphically-intensive duties.

The Plus Downside

Qualcomm supplied nearly no particulars concerning the lower-end W5 chipset, and since the W5 doesn’t have the co-processor discovered within the W5+, it received’t have the identical battery life enhancements.

The W5+ is being focused at mainstream smartwatches, whereas the W5 is simply meant for “segment-specific wearables” — watches for kids, well being trackers, company prospects, and so forth. Nevertheless, if this new technology is something just like the final one, most smartwatches will select the cheaper chip with out the co-processor or proceed utilizing different choices.

The Mobvoi TicWatch Pro 3 was launched in September 2020 with the common 4100 (not a 4100+), then not a single (mainstream) watch arrived with the 4100 collection till practically a 12 months later. Mobvoi revealed one other 4100 watch in June 2021, and the Fossil Gen 6 became the first 4100+ smartwatch a month later. Fossil Group later launched a number of extra watches based mostly on the Gen 6 utilizing the identical chip, such because the Razer X Fossil Gen 6.

Pixel Watch render
The Pixel Watch received’t use a Qualcomm chip. Google

In the meantime, Samsung makes use of its personal Exynos chips within the Galaxy Watch 4, similar to the Apple Watch makes use of Apple’s personal chipsets. The Pixel Watch may be most-anticipated Put on OS watch proper now (that or the Galaxy Watch 5), however Google mentioned throughout the launch occasion that it might use a Tensor-branded chip. Studies from 9to5Google point out it may use the Samsung Exynos 9110, the identical chip from the 2018 Samsung Galaxy Watch.

So, the query stays — who’s going to make use of the brand new Snapdragon wearable chips, particularly the plus model? Qualcomm revealed that Mobvoi is engaged on a brand new watch with the Snapdragon W5+, and that the upcoming Oppo Watch 3 will use the common W5, however no different concrete merchandise are public but.

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