Qualcomm has announced today the new Snapdragon Wear 4100/4100+, the chip that will power the next generation of smartwatches.
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The current Qualcomm wearable platform is the Snapdragon Wear 3100. It was unveiled in September 2018 and brought low-power modes, sports watch-focused tweaks and improved always-on watch faces. However the processor essentially combined new technology with the same core design from a 2013 chip, plus it used an outdated 28nm fabrication process.
Snapdragon Wear 4100/4100+
The 2020 chip comes in two variants, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and Snapdragon Wear 4100+. Both of these bring substantial improvements based on their 12nm process technology. The first supports Wear OS by Google and Android Open Source and comes with a new super-fast System-on-Chip (SoC) along with the companion chips including PMIC, RF for Modem/GPS and WiFi/BT and RFFE.
The higher spec 4100+ version includes all of the above (apart from support for Android Open Source), and slaps on a smart Always On Co-Processor (QCC1110). This provides support for extended functionality in Watch mode including continuous heart rate monitoring and sleep, quicker tilt-to-wake, step counting, alarms, timers, and haptics – all with minimal impact on performance or battery life. The partitioned memory also ups the number of colors to 64Ks (from 16 colors).
Needless to say, the improvements in speed are significant over the previous generation. For the 4100+, the CPU and memory are 85% quicker, the GPU is 2.5 x faster and the processor comes with support for 16 megapixel cameras (versus 8MP on Qualcomm 3100). The 4G LTE mode has also been significantly improved.
All of this means better performance and connectivity, improved voice, video, pictures, music, messaging, health & fitness, sleep, sports and a 25% boost to battery life. What’s not to like?!
It took a while but we now have a nice number of watches with the 3100 platform. It looks like the wait will not be as long for the 4100 chips. A few wearable tech manufacturers have already announced devices that will take advantage of the new technology.
One of these is an outfit called imoo. A manufacturer of kid smartwatches, it says its next generation Z6 Ultra smartwatch based on the Snapdragon Wear 4100 will launch next month. The other, better known brand, is Movoi. Its next generation Tic Watch Pro will be based on the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform. No launch date has been given for that one yet.
Qualcomm says the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ and Snapdragon Wear 4100 chips are available and shipping now. More information on the new processor and its capabilities can be found on this link.
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