Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 3100 Processor Will Finally Make Android Smartwatches Matter Again

It’s no secret Google’s smartwatch platform, Wear OS, has been riding a pretty decent slump in recent years. I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s the operating system’s fault because it’s actually pretty good. No, the real issue lies within the watch: the processor. We’ve been dealing with the same chipset – the Snapdragon Wear 2100 – ever since its debut back in early 2016. Since then, it’s had time to age and grow decrepit, so much so that new watches coming out nowadays feel like they were released a few years ago.

Fortunately, that’s all changing today. During an event in San Francisco, Qualcomm finally took the wraps off its all-new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset, designed to provide better performance for newer smartphones, with the main attraction being better overall battery life.

According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 was designed from the ground up, meaning it isn’t based on any chipset from the company’s history. It uses a new “ultra-low power hierarchical system architecture approach.” In other words, it packs a high-performance quad-core A7 processor along with a new ultra-low power co-processor. These two different entities work in conjunction to both improve performance under workloads and save battery life under lighter tasks.

In fact, battery life is extremely improved in this case over the 2100. Qualcomm says the 3100 offers up to 1.5 to 2.5 days of typical use and up to 15 hours of continuous GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring. That’s more than twice of what most users got out of the 2100. What’s more, the new chipset enables an ultra-low power mode that conserves up to 67 percent less power than the 2100.

The new Snapdragon Wear 3100 also enables some new features that weren’t previously available with Wear OS. For one, there’s an upgraded version of ambient mode on board that allows for colorful ambient screens and additional complications at a glance. There’s also an added “Traditional Watch Mode” design to “make it possible for consumers to continue to enjoy their beautiful watch for extended periods of time.” Finally, activities are also getting upgraded with GPS tracking and heart rate monitoring automatically enabled for things like marathons, swims, biking, and more.

As for some final tidbits, the new 3100 includes an upgraded 4G LTE modem for better connectivity, a new wearable power management sub-system, a new DSP framework to support next-generation sensor processing, and overall better efficiency in virtually every way possible.

Qualcomm also announced Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc would be the first manufacturers to implement the Snapdragon Wear 3100 in new wearables soon. Expect them to become available in the near future.

“Qualcomm Technologies has played a critical role in the evolution of the smartwatch segment and our customers are currently shipping more than 100 Wear OS by Google smartwatches with 25 brands globally based on our existing platforms,” said Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice, music and wearables, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. “With the Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform, we envisioned a new ultra-low power system architecture and in collaboration with the latest from the Wear OS by Google team, to help deliver a rich interactive mode, bring in new personalized experiences and support extended battery life for tomorrow’s smartwatches.”

Of course, now that we have a new processor for Wear OS wearables, it remains to be seen if it’s actually worth all the hype. Never fear as we’ll work hard to acquire a smartwatch with a 3100 inside to let you know if it’s worth upgrading to. Stay tuned.