If you're curious about the future of Wear OS smartwatches, you'd want to mark this date, September 10, on your calendar. After a full two and a half years, Wear OS is finally getting a new chipset from Qualcomm.
It was in February 2016, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon Wear 2100, its smartwatch system-on-chip (SoC) for Wear OS (previously Android Wear) devices. Since then, Wear OS OEMs has been using the same chip on their smartwatches, which has literally stagnated evolution in devices. One can wrap a screen, battery, and body around the same SoC only in a limited number of ways. This reflects in the size, design, speed, and battery life of the device.
Google itself tried to salvage the damage somewhat by rebranding Android Wear as Wear OS, and adding some new features. But Qualcomm has been inflicting a bigger damage, which only the company itself could have repaired. And it finally seems to have woken-up.
In May, at Google I/O, Qualcomm confirmed that it's working on a new chipset design for wearable devices. The company has now apparently sent out ‘save the date’ invites to media and bloggers. While we don't know what's exactly in store for us, the invite, as you can see above, features a smartwatch with the Qualcomm logo and a San Francisco weather widget. There's some text which says ‘It’s Time’ and ‘set your watches’ with the date September 10. The invite all but confirms an event in San Francisco on September 10, where the company will be announcing something significant regarding smartwatches.
Qualcomm’s announcement could be happening just a few days before Apple’s grand event where it could unveil the Apple Watch Series 4 alongside the iPhones. Reportedly, Google is also planning to launch a Pixel Watch this fall, and it would likely be powered by this new chipset.
As for the specs of the new chip, a few leaks suggest that it will come standard with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, with options available for GPS and LTE. Improved performance and smaller design should allow for smaller smartwatches and longer battery life.
Details are scant right now, but it's good to finally have a firm date to see what the future holds for Wear OS. Exciting times for Wear OS enthusiasts.