Home Hardware Qualcomm announces faster Snapdragon Wear 4100 chips for smartwatches

Qualcomm announces faster Snapdragon Wear 4100 chips for smartwatches

In context: Wear OS watches (previously Android Wear) have needed to battle an uphill battle ever because the first one landed in 2014. For some time, they appeared like the subsequent massive factor after the smartphone, however they by no means fairly captured the identical degree of curiosity as a consequence of sluggish {hardware} and restricted software program. Google has improved the software program, and now it is Qualcomm’s flip to try to rejuvenate the market with higher {hardware} platforms.

Back in 2018, Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform for smartwatches with a ‘big-small-tiny’ structure that was presupposed to ship nice efficiency whereas sipping little energy from the small batteries you could match inside the everyday wearable. However, that wasn’t sufficient to breathe extra life into Android Wear smartwatches.

Google moved to rebrand the ecosystem as Wear OS and redesign it, in order that it’d really feel prefer it lastly belonged in your wrist. The search big additionally acquired Fitbit to bolster the {hardware} that runs Wear OS, however arguably what many smartwatches wanted was a beefier SoC.

Qualcomm lastly delivered two new smartwatch processors right now, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and the Snapdragon Wear 4100+, which is the primary important improve in years, provided that each the Wear 3100 and Wear 2100 have been virtually the identical by way of efficiency. The new chips are primarily based on a 12nm course of node, whereas the older generations used a 28 nm course of, resulting in effectivity features and higher efficiency.

Qualcomm’s latest SoCs provide a richer ambient mode that may assist sleep monitoring, coronary heart fee monitoring, haptic suggestions, stay issues with extra colours, alarms, and adaptive brightness. That’s as a result of the corporate realized that since most smartwatches spend 95 % of the time in ambient mode, that ought to be one of many fundamental areas that wanted enchancment.

Inside the brand new Wear 4100+ you may discover a quad core CPU primarily based on the ARM Cortex A53 that may run as much as 1.7 GHz and provides 85 % greater efficiency when in comparison with the 3100 platform, with RAM that can also be 85 % sooner. The new Adreno A504 GPU is 2.5 instances sooner that the A304 discovered within the earlier era, and the picture sign processor is 2 instances sooner and helps 16 megapixel sensors.

The Snapdragon Wear 4100 is identical chip however with out the QCC1110 co-processor for always-on performance. Qualcomm says each new SoCs ought to allow 25 % extra battery life, which is much less spectacular than the efficiency increase however nonetheless a welcome improve.

The new SoCs are anticipated in upcoming smartwatches from Fossil, Mobvoi, and Xiaotiancai, the primary of which can arrive in July. However, even because the smartwatch market has grown because of extra fashions providing well being monitoring options, an ever bigger proportion of shipments belong to Apple and Samsung. One has to marvel if Qualcomm’s new chips can do something to reverse that development.

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