Qualcomm’s much-anticipated update for its Smartwatch SoC line is official. These chips are usually called “Snapdragon Wear”, but the brand seems to be dead, so it’s time to meet the “Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 + Gen1” and the “Snapdragon W5 Gen1”. Qualcomm pledges the chips will provide the company’s “most advanced leap to date,” which doesn’t mean much to a company that previously had six years between releases of major smartwatch chips.
The W5+ appears to be a major update though. Compared to the 2020 Wear 4100, Qualcomm promises “twice the performance across CPU, GPU, camera, memory, video/audio,” “50 percent longer battery life” that delivers “days of use” and a “30 percent smaller” chip for more designs. elegance.
Unlike the Wear 4100 at the time of its launch, the W5 is built on the latest 4nm manufacturing process. Qualcomm equipped the chip with four ARM Cortex A53 CPUs running at up to 1.7GHz and an Adreno A702 GPU. The “plus” version includes a second 22nm Cortex M55-based SOC for off-screen background operations, such as updating the watch face, staying on top of notifications, and tracking fitness stats. Qualcomm promises low-power islands of Wi-Fi, GPS, and audio so these features can be used without lighting up the entire chip. SoC supports LTE modem, Wi-Fi 802.11n (also known as Wi-Fi 4) and Bluetooth 5.3
It’s hard to tell where the W5+ is in the Android smartwatch chipset hierarchy. Its competitor, the Samsung Exynos W920, has A55 cores built on the 5nm process. Qualcomm has the advantage of a process node, but Samsung uses newer cores, and Qualcomm uses four cores compared to Samsung’s two. We need someone to run Geekbench on both hours, but it looks like the chip will split single- and multi-threaded wins. At the very least, Qualcomm’s chip is competitive, and we hope it marks a new era for the company that takes the smartwatch market seriously.
Qualcomm says it already has reference designs of round and square watches from ODMs Compal and Pegatron ready to go for partners. This will come in handy for the majority of Wear OS manufacturers, who are mostly just fashion brands that need a lot of third-party help. If you don’t make your own chips or have a seemingly exclusive Google deal with Samsung, Qualcomm is the only game in town for smartwatch chips, so the company says the partners have 25 designs already in the pipeline. Oppo and Mobvoi (the makers of TicWatch) are the first to come out of the gate and should have new watches with chips released this fall.
Listing image by Qualcomm