Google recently changed its smartwatch platform’s name to Wear OS, and, since then, the company has put a focus on improving the platform in every other way, too. But one of the areas holding it back was the processor in those smartwatches.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 hasn’t aged well. But that really isn’t an issue anymore, because Qualcomm has just announced the Wear 3100 platform. This time around the company is putting a major emphasis on battery life, with different modes offering a focus on fitness, battery life, and fashion. Qualcomm confirmed that the new platform is shipping beginning today, with Montblanc, Louis Vuitton, and Fossil the first companies set to offer the new platform in their smartwatches.
Inside, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 features a “high-performance quad core A7 processors, the highly efficient integrated DSP, and a new ultra-low power co-processor”, with that co-processor being very small (only “~21mm2”) and designed to handle ultra-low power operations. The new platform also includes “a new wearable power management sub-system (PMW3100) to support lower power and higher integration”.
Here is how Qualcomm describes its new modes:
“Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, based on the new ultra-low power system architecture, is being used to help bring new personalized experiences to next generation Wear OS by Google based smartwatches. Three such personalized experiences include the Enhanced Ambient Mode, Dedicated Sports Experiences, and Traditional Watch Mode. The Enhanced Ambient Mode helps the smartwatch to meet consumer desires for a fashion watch by supporting a smooth second hand, up to 16 colors, live complications and improved brightness. The Dedicated Sports Experiences is designed to allow active users to go for an ultra-marathon, swim long distances, bike for miles, or hike the mountains with GPS and heart rate turned on for the duration. The Traditional Watch Mode is designed to make it possible for consumers to continue to enjoy their beautiful watch for extended periods of time. Each one of these personalized experiences are supported by offloading the display and sensor processing from the A7 processors to the ultra-low power co-processor.”
Qualcomm says that when compared to the Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, the Wear 3100 offers a significant boost in battery life, between four and 12 hours longer depending on the action. The platform supports three variants: Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethered smartwatches, GPS tethered smartwatches, and 4G LTE-connected wearables as well.
This sounds like a huge boost for Wear OS in general, and hopefully the performance and battery life matches Qualcomm’s goals.