Qualcomm’s new wearable chip improves Wear OS battery life

It feels like it’s been an age, but Qualcomm’s first wearable chip in two years has launched promising much-improved battery life.

The main beneficiary of Qualcomm’s chip will be Wear OS devices. Apple and Samsung’s devices have benefited from in-house developed chips that Wear OS’ various manufacturers have not had access to.

Dennis Troper, Director of Wear OS at Google, says:

“Together with Qualcomm Technologies and the ecosystem, Wear OS by Google has enabled a vibrant set of wearable devices, offering consumers with great choice and diversity.

We’re excited to see Qualcomm Technologies’ new Snapdragon Wear 3100, their continued investment in the wearable space, and we look forward to the ecosystem bringing the next generation of smartwatch technology to the industry.”

Most current Android Wear devices use a Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip. This chip is now over two years old and is based on an old 28nm transistor process.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 will replace the existing 2100 chip. The main processor sounds like it will remain basically the same, but it will be complemented by an ‘ultra-low power’ co-processor – the QCC1110.

The QCC1110 handles duties for tasks when the watch is not active such as displaying the clock, listening for voice commands, and heart rate tracking.

When displaying the clock in Ambient Mode, the 3100 now enables the screen to display a second hand with live ‘complications’ and improved brightness.

Improvements to sports tracking will enable a watch featuring a 450mAh battery to run for around 15 hours with GPS and heart rate monitoring switched on

Finally, a ‘Traditional Watch Mode’ will allow users to switch off the smart features of their device so the watch can last an entire week with just 20 percent battery remaining.

Anthony Murray, SVP and GM of Voice & Music at Qualcomm, comments:

“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.

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.”

Qualcomm estimates people only actively use their watch around five percent of the time it’s being worn. By optimising the rest of the time, Qualcomm claims its new chip will enable Wear OS devices to achieve four to 12 additional hours more battery life than the previous generation.

The battery life increase may not sound much, but it will allow users to be more confident their smartwatch will not die before they can reach a charger.

Snapdragon Wear 3100 comes in three variants targeting Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethered smartwatches, GPS-based tethered smartwatches, and 4G LTE connected smartwatches. The platform is in mass production and shipping today.

Find more information about the Wear 3100 here.

Are you looked forward to Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100? Let us know in the comments.

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