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Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100 / 5100+ should bring longer battery life

An extensive leak from WinFuture (in German) has revealed lots of details around the next generation Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100 and 5100+ chips. The tech is expected to bring significantly improved performance and longer battery life for wearables.

Two variants of the next generation chip are planned according to the leak. Samsung is expected to manufacture both of these on 4 nm nodes, so down from 12nm.

The first SoC is dubbed SW5100 and that one comes in a so-called “Molded Laser Package” (MLP), in which the SoC and the associated power management IC (PMIC) are located separately on a carrier material. The more powerful SW5100+ comes as a “Molded Embedded Package” (MEP), with the SoC and PMIC housed in the same “package”. This variant packs a more streamlined design and also supports an ultra low-power deep sleep mode, courtesy of the QCC5100 co-processor.

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The WCC5100 has been around for a while now but as an independent chip. It has mainly been used in Bluetooth headphones as it offers an audio processor capable of active noise suppression. The WCC5100 has its own GPU and display controller so can independently do graphics on a smartwatch display. That’s important for watches with always-on displays because it can keep the screen alive while the main CPU is sleeping. All of this equates to energy efficient operation.

Both versions of the Snapdragon Wear 5100 will come with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores that can work at a maximum of 1.7 gigahertz. So no upgrade there as these can be found in Wear 4100 and Wear 4100+ which were released some two years ago.

But the new chips will carry LPDDR4x RAM which is an upgrade, along with eMMC 5.1 flash memory. Qualcomm is said to be testing variants with two and four gigabytes. What’s more, Qualcomm has switched the Adreno 504 in the current generation chip for an Adreno 720.

The 5100 and 5100+ chips come with an integrated image processor that supports two cameras, each with a maximum resolution of 13 and 16 megapixels. This enables them to record 1080p videos and supports video calls.

All of this is still in the works so the final specs might change by the time the first watches carrying the new chip come to market. No word yet on when this will happen, but we wouldn’t expect anything until at least this Autumn. Possibly later.

Let’s hope the upgraded tech brings significantly improved battery life for WearOS watches as this remains a sticking point. Coupled with the version 3.0 of the Google operating system, we might get much improved devices soon. For now, WearOS watches will continue to rely on the 4100 architecture.

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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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