After more than two and a half years, which nearly killed the Android smartwatch market, Qualcomm finally has a new chip for wearables. The California-based chip manufacturer is releasing the successor to its Snapdragon Wear 2100 SoC for smartwatches. Called Snapdragon Wear 3100, the new chip promises some nifty battery life improvements, along with a few more key changes.
Speculations about Qualcomm announcing a new chip for smartwatches has been rife ever since the company teased-off the media with this 'save the date' invite in August. And as expected, Qualcomm, on Monday, took the wraps off its latest chipset intended for wearables. The new chip, as the company promises, will offer 4 to 12 hours of extra battery life as compared to its predecessor. It also sees enhancements in always-on displays and will offer more versatility to fitness trackers and sensors.
The new chip’s key feature is the addition of a secondary low-power Qualcomm QCC1110 co-processor. It is intended to handle the watch when it's not in use. It will power the watch’s sensors and ambient display but will use up to 20 times less energy than the main processor would.
“The 95 percent of the time when you’re not actually interacting with your watch, you are in ambient mode or always-sensing mode. So the co-processor, that’s where you are 95 percent of the time ... we are doing less and less things in the main processor,” said Pankaj Kedia, Qualcomm’s wearables leader.
The Wear 3100 will be available with or without LTE support. Smartwatches with Wear 3100 will offer 4G speed of up to 1 Gbps for downloads and up to 150 Mbps for uploads.
Everything about the Wear 3100 looks fine, except that it is still using the ARM Cortex-A7 cores, just like the one in the Snapdragon Wear 2100. So basically, the co-processor is the main improvement, and all of the enhancements enabled by Qualcomm’s new chip come from what the co-processor can do.