Qualcomm on Monday officially announced its newest chipset built specifically for smartwatches, with a big push for better battery life.
Qualcomm’s event on Monday was in San Francisco, California, and the company not only announced the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, but also confirmed that Fossil, Montblanc, and Louis Vuitton will be the first companies to launch smartwatches featuring the chipset under the hood.
The new Snapdragon Wear 3100 is based on a “ultra-low power hierarchical system” architecture which features a new “ultra low-power co-processor” and high-performance quad-core A7 processors. The idea is to keep battery life chugging along even as smartwatch owners actually use the features that are baked into their wearables. Qualcomm has built in features that allow the Snapdragon Wear 3100 to offer longer battery life by default, even with the smartwatch features turned on, and offer an even longer boost to longevity if those features are switched off, so the owner essentially switches to a watch-only feature.
Meanwhile, that co-processor measures in at “~21mm2″, and it’s specifically designed to handle ultra-low power operation. It also features a “deep learning engine”, which can handle operations like keyword detection and more. Qualcomm is also including a 4G LTE modem, broadening the functionality of Google Wear OS smartwatches.
Qualcomm is offering different modes with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 as well. As mentioned above, the ability to switch to a “watch-only” mode is now baked right into the hardware, what Qualcomm calls Traditional Watch Mode. As the company puts it, this feature is designed to let owners “continue to enjoy their beautiful watch for extended periods of time”. There is also the Dedicated Sports Experience which facilitates folks that want to start “an ultra-marathon, swim long distances, bike for miles, or hike the mountains with GPS and heart rate turned on for the duration”.
As far as battery life goes, Qualcomm says that compared to the previous Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, the new Snapdragon 3100 can get battery life between four to 12 hours longer in the same scenarios. So listening to music, using GPS, and doing other common tasks on a smartwatch should mean future owners don’t have to worry so much about their device quitting on them too soon.
Finally, the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 will be available in three variants, with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethered options, tethered smartwatches with built-in GPS, and 4G LTE-connected smartwatches. The Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform is already in mass production and begins shipping today.