As expected, Qualcomm has unveiled the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform for smartwatches at an event in San Francisco. The new chipset features an ultra-low power system architecture which Qualcomm claims helps in delivering interactive mode, extended battery life and personalized experiences. Closely built in association with Google, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 will power Wear OS devices built by Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc in the first wave.
“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, senior vice president and general manager, voice & music, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd.
“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,” he added.
Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 specifications
Talking about specifications, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset features a quad-core Cortex A7 CPU, along with an integrated DSP and an ultra-low power co-processor for extended battery life. The tiny co-processor, here, small at ~21mm2, has been optimized for ultra-low power operation, and works in conjunction with the main processor. It also comes integrated with deep learning engine that allows for custom workloads for keyword detection, such as “Hey Google.”
Qualcomm has also integrated (PMW3100), a power management sub-system to ensure better efficiency. Lastly, a 4G LTE modem with Gallium Arsenide power amplifier is also paired with the chipset for increased power efficiency.
Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 key features
Rich Interactive Mode
Qualcomm has closely worked with Google to ensure that Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform supports a fluid user experience when navigating through the UI. “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,” said Dennis Troper, director of product management, Wear OS by Google.
Qualcomm is highlighting three personalized experiences on smartwatches powered by the Qualcomm Wear 3100 chipset – enhanced ambient mode, dedicated sports experiences, and traditional watch mode. The ambient mode is designed to offer improved brightness, up to 16 colors and watch faces with live complications. There is also a dedicated sports mode that allows users to go on hiking, swim long distance or run ultra-marathon with heart rate and GPS turned on.
Lastly, the watch mode is designed to cut off smart functions, and work as classic timepiece to offer extended battery life. To achieve this, processing from the sensor and display is offloaded from A7 CPU, to an ultra-low power co-processor.
Extended battery life
One of the struggles smartwatch users have is with the battery life, where they have to charge the device everyday by the end of the day. With the new platform, Qualcomm has worked towards reducing power consumption in areas such as GPS / location batching, sensor processing, MP3 playback, voice queries over Bluetooth / Wi-Fi, and per minute / second clock updates. Compared to Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, the new platform can offer anywhere between 4-12 hours of extended battery life. With the watch mode turned on, the smartwatch can deliver battery life of up to one-week, Qualcomm said.
The chipset will be offered in three variants – Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethered smartwatches, 4G LTE connected smartwatches and GPS-based tethered smartwatches. The platform is already in mass production, with smartwatches powered by this new chipset shipping from today.