Image source: Qualcomm

The Snapdragon Wear 5100 may offer only a slight performance bump

Some new details were revealed about the Snapdragon Wear 5100, Qualcomm’s upcoming chip for smartwatches. It seems this will only be a minor upgrade and the processor might not be as powerful as the one that can be found in the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4.

In recent times we can count on a new Qualcomm chip for smartwatches pretty much every year. The current generation consists of the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and Snapdragon Wear 4100+.

But even though they were announced more than a year ago, only a handful of smartwatches are available that run on the platform. The most recent to join the club is the Fossil Gen 6 watch. Adoption should pick up in the months ahead as we are expecting more Fossil and Mobvoi watches.

Nevertheless, it is time to look at the next iteration of the Qualcomm chip.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100

The folks over at Winfuture did some digging around and found info on the new processor. As previously reported the next chip is dubbed Snapdragon Wear 5100 (and goes under the moniker SW 5100).

Contrary to earlier rumours and leaks, Winfuture believes the processor will not be using the new Cortex-A73 cores. Which means the next Qualcomm chip will not be using the 5nm process which can be found in Samsung Galaxy Watch 4’s Exynos W920. Which leads to the conclusion that it will not be as efficient and powerful.

Winfuture further reveals that the 5100 chip that Qualcomm is testing packs four Cortex-A53, so the same CPU cores and configuration as its predecessor. The unknown at this stage are the clock speeds. Another similarity between the current and next generation is that there will be an ultra low power co-processor. This is used for offloading tasks – for example sleep tracking and heart rate monitoring.

But some slight performance enhancements can be found elsewhere. The initial batch of the chip is being tested with 1GB and 2GB of RAM; and 8GB and 16GB of eMMC-flash storage. This matches the improvements seen in Samsung’s latest watch. There’s also LPDDR4x RAM support so an upgrade over the LPDDR3 RAM in the current Snapdragon Wear SoCs. Some configurations of the 5100 chip are reportedly being tested with 5MP and 16MP cameras.

Essential reading: Best fitness trackers and health gadgets

Typically we get Qualcomm announcements on new smartwatch chips in early autumn. However, this year it might be a bit later as the company may want to give some more time to smartwatch brands to pick up the Snapdragon Wear 4100 series. Which means a formal announcement may be a few months away.

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Marko Maslakovic

Marko founded Gadgets & Wearables in 2014, having worked for more than 15 years in the City of London’s financial district. Since then, he has led the company’s charge to become a leading information source on health and fitness gadgets and wearables.

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