Qualcomm has near-enough served as the sole supplier of silicon for smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS user experience in recent years and a new family of chips – its Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform – points to a brighter future for the next generation of wrist-worn wearables.
Apple and Samsung are responsible for some of the best smartwatches on the market currently; not least because they’ve consistently offered a superior user experience to Wear OS-toting rivals from the likes of the Fossil Group (which includes brands like Armani, Skagen and Michael Kors), Mobvoi (makers of the TicWatch series), Sunnto and beyond.
One thing that practically every modern Wear OS-based smartwatch has in common is its reliance on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear platform, which has always lagged behind the proprietary silicon Apple and Samsung have squeezed into their watches.
With the newly-announced Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+ however, it looks as though Qualcomm might finally be looking to help even the playing field.
Compared to 2018’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 – which itself was only a mild improvement over 2015’s Wear 2100 (adding a co-processor for improved ambient capabilities), Qualcomm claims that performance has been improved by 85%, while battery longevity is now 25% greater.
The main difference between the standard and ‘plus’ version of the Wear 4100 is the addition of a new AON (always-on) co-processor, which comes with its own partitioned memory and performance.
This means a richer always-on user experience, with support for a wider colour gamut on always-on watch faces, as well as more efficient constant heart-rate monitoring and step counting, not to mention the fact that sleep tracking is now truly viable on Snapdragon Wear hardware.
While the Wear 3100-powered Montblanc Summit 2+ was the first Wear OS watch to accommodate easy 4G connectivity, the experience is said to be even more seamless and less power-hungry across the 4100 line.
While we don’t yet have a launch date for the first Snapdragon Wear 4100/4100+-powered smartwatches, manufacturers like Mobvoi have already confirmed that they have products in development using the hardware.