The smartwatch sector is starting to heat up, and according to IDC, the Apple Watch is leading the way. However, devices based on Google's Wear OS are also putting up a good fight, and they will now have some much-needed ammunition in the form the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform.
Snapdragon Wear 3100 is the successor to the long-in-the-tooth Snapdragon Wear 2100 Platform that debuted way back in the first quarter of 2016. With its new platform, Qualcomm is promising big gains not only in performance, but also in power efficiency. Snapdragon Wear 3100 is powered by a quad-core Cortex-A7 processor cluster that works in conjunction with an efficient DSP and an ultra-low power co-processor to handle less critical functions. This is -- in part -- what is allowing Qualcomm to make such strides in power efficiency.
The co-processor is called the QCC1110 and in Qualcomm marketing speak will "[re-define] audio, display, and sensor experiences for next generation smartwatches." The co-processor also feature a deep learning engine that is capable of handling custom workloads, further taking the burden off the high-performing (and more power-hungry) quad-core cluster.
Qualcomm has tackled a number of high power draw situations with Snapdragon Wear 3100, including Wi-Fi/Bluetooth queries and GPS location tracking. As a result, Qualcomm is targeting an overall improvement in battery life compared to the previous generation Snapdragon Wear 2100 that ranges from 4 hours to 12 hours.
Snapdragon Wear 3100 will be available in three variants: GPS-tethered, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth-tethered, and a variant with 4G LTE connectivity.
“Qualcomm Technologies has played a critical role in the evolution of the smartwatch segment and our customers are currently shipping more than 100 Wear OS by Google smartwatches with 25 brands globally based on our existing platforms,” said Anthony Murray, Qualcomm's SVP and GM for voice, music and wearables. “With the Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform, we envisioned a new ultra-low power system architecture and in collaboration with the latest from the Wear OS by Google team, to help deliver a rich interactive mode, bring in new personalized experiences and support extended battery life for tomorrow’s smartwatches.”
According to Qualcomm, the first customers that will be bringing smartwatches to the market using the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform will be Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc. The chip is currently in mass production and is shipping now.