Every time we look, it feels like Qualcomm is coming out with a new chip to power the latest Android phones — like the new Snapdragon we met a few weeks back. But for as frequently as we get a new smartphone SoC, the same cannot be said for the company's processors intended for wearables — it seems like an eternity has passed since it introduced the Snapdragon Wear 4100. Thankfully, a successor appears to be on the horizon, as Qualcomm shares a teaser for what can only be a next-generation wearable chip.
The company posted a short video accompanied by the cryptic caption, “The clock is ticking on something big.” We can see a chip die, a smartwatch, and the tagline “wear what matters,” tying the Snapdragon Wear theme together.
We've been checking out rumors that outlined expectations for Qualcomm's next smartwatch chips for nearly a year now — presumably the Snapdragon Wear 5100 and Wear 5100+, though that branding is far from certain. The chips would be built on Samsung’s 4nm process, which could help deliver significantly better efficiency than the 12nm-based Snapdragon Wear 4100.
Qualcomm may continue using ARM Cortex-A53 cores as it did on the Wear 4100 series, clocked at 1.7GHz, but the move to the new node could extend all-important battery life on future wearables. We eagerly await more details from Qualcomm, but if rumors are anything to go by, better performance can also be expected, thanks to an upgraded GPU, plus support for faster RAM and flash storage.
Battery life could also get some help from the QCC5100 coprocessor for handling background processes, including Bluetooth sync, Wi-Fi connectivity, and notification delivery. As a result, the power-hungry primary cores of the chip wouldn't always need to be active, and efficiency can be stretched by that much more. We could also get an integrated image processor, so wearables capable of facilitating video calls may not be a distant reality.
Since Qualcomm is teasing the chip, this launch sure feels imminent, and we couldn't be more excited about it. Backed by the promise of better battery life and efficiency, the new chip will hopefully find widespread adoption from all the big wearable manufacturers.