Among the first watches with Android Wear came to the market with a mid-range mobile processor because there were no chips dedicated to this new category of very low consumption. Although this changed with the arrival of the first Snapdragon Wear chips, it has not been until now that the chip giant decides to completely renew its catalog. And this is what he finally does with the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+.
These new SoCs for smartwatches and wearable devices are, unsurprisingly, more powerful. But they also give, at last, a renewed life to the energy efficiency required by these devices. While the most modern mobile processors already expect to be manufactured this year in a 5-nanometer process, the latest Snapdragon Wear 3300 – from almost two years ago – still remained at 28 nm. Until now, when the Wear 4100s land in 12 nanometers.
Snapdragon Wear 4100, the new reference to look for?
The changes in this new generation come on multiple fronts, and will surely represent a breath of fresh air for devices with Wear OS and more advanced sports watches. The new architecture maintains four cores, but replaces the aging Cortex A7 of the Wear 3100 with some Cortex A53. These ARM cores are designed with energy efficiency in mind.
Furthermore, Qualcomm insists with its support core. As in mobile chipsets, this time it will accompany the main processor with a Cortex M0, which they say has been greatly improved. This is now capable of processing up to 64 thousand colors, instead of the 16 of the previous version. This last piece of information seems expendable, but it will allow richer watchfaces with less energy consumption, as well as displaying more detailed maps in real time without spending much energy. This ‘Always-On’ chip will only be available on the Snapdragon Wear 4100+.
As for the rest of the chip, it has an even more ambitious graphics and a much faster integrated memory. In this sense, Qualcomm points to some more than interesting metrics: Up to 85% faster CPU and memory, up to 150% higher GPU and an ISP for image processing capable of managing sensors with double the resolution, up to 16 MP. All this, even improving energy efficiency by up to 25%.
In addition, the new Wear 4100+ will feature Integrated 4G connectivity. This will allow the smartwatches that incorporate it to be totally independent of the mobile. Qualcomm is targeting some of its uses, such as streaming music on the move, voice assistants, sending messages, or sharing the location in real time.
All these features will be very well received, especially by users who practice outdoor sports. Furthermore, Qualcomm aims to reductions in consumption when carrying out this type of processes in up to 40%.
One of the big conflicts of smart watches is the battery life. The processor manufacturer warns, that from the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 it will be possible to achieve up to one week of autonomy in low power mode. Here, as a novelty, it will support a greater number of functions, such as step counting and pulse monitoring, managing alarms or reminders and more.