Qualcomm on Monday launched the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform for Wear OS smartwatches, based on an ultra-low power system architecture designed to deliver more battery life, new personalised experiences, and more interactions. Qualcomm claims that it is working closely with Google to make its chip work seamlessly with its Wear OS based smartwatches. It has also confirmed integration in smartwatches from companies like Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc.
The Snapdragon Wear 3100 mobile platform consists of quad-core A7 processors, integrated DSP, and an ultra-low power co-processor QCC1110. This co-processor is very tiny, is optimised for ultra-low power operation, and also integrates a deep learning engine for custom workloads, such as keyword detection, and is extensible over time. Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform brings in a new DSP framework to support next generation sensor processing in an open execution environment, includes a new wearable power management sub-system (PMW3100) to support lower power and higher integration, and implements a new dual display architecture to support the hierarchical approach. The fifth-generation 4G LTE modem is paired with new Gallium Arsenide power amplifiers, which is touted to increase power efficiency in smartwatches.
Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 3100 SoC enables smartwatches to do a lot more, offering new experiences like an enhanced ambient mode, dedicated sports experiences, and traditional watch mode, the company claimed. The enhanced ambient mode brings support for a smooth second hand, up to 16 colors, live complications and improved brightness. The dedicated sports experiences enables 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, as the name suggests, brings the old-school watchface to save battery. Qualcomm claims that these personalised experiences are supported by offloading the display and sensor processing from the A7 processors to the ultra-low power co-processor.
The new platforms claims to bring improvements in battery life ranging from 4 to 12 hours compared to the previous Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform - launched back in Q1 2016 - depending on display type, battery capacity, and device configurations. This is achieved by reducing power usage in areas like low power modes, GPS/location batching, per minute/second clock updates, sensors processing, MP3 playback, and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth voice queries. In the traditional watch mode, an Android smartwatch can even achieve a week-long battery life, Qualcomm claims.
The Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform comes in three variants - Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethered smartwatches, GPS-based tethered smartwatches, and 4G LTE connected smartwatches. Qualcomm claims that the chip is already in mass production and is ready for shipping, and the first smartwatches integrated with the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 should arrive in Q4 2018.
In June this year, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon Wear 2500, a mobile platform meant to power smartwatches for kids.