Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 for Wear OS

The next generation of Wear OS watches should benefit from a much overdue boost to battery life, thanks to some new Qualcomm silicon.

The US chipmaker has announced the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and flagship W5 Plus Gen 1 (replacing the existing ‘Wear’ branding), which Qualcomm claims can deliver 50% greater battery life.

That will improve the chances of multi-day battery life for Wear OS watch manufacturers like Oppo and Mobvoi, who have today confirmed the first watches based on the platforms.

The Oppo Watch 3 will land in August rocking the W5 Gen 1, while the next TicWatch flagship will arrive in the autumn with the W5+ Gen 1. Qualcomm says there are 25 designs already in the pipeline overall.

As well as the ultra-low power prowess, there’s also a massive leap in terms of the chip’s design. The ageing 12-nanometer 4100+ SoC is now replaced by a 4nm processor on the W5 Plus Gen 1. That contributes to a 30% smaller and thinner package Qualcomm says will enable manufacturers to make slimmer smartwatches.

The headlining chip will also have a 22nm always-on co-processor, Bluetooth 5.3, and Adreno 730 graphics. The chip’s efficiency is also assisted by “low power islands for Wi-Fi, GNSS, and Audio, and low power states such as Deep Sleep and Hibernate.” They’re still based on the quad-core Arm Cortex A53, but users can expect “2x higher performance.” As well as “2x richer features” such as improved rendering of 3D elements.

Snapdragon-W5-Platform-Summary

The idea is to help Qualcomm-powered watches catch up to the Apple Watch‘s S-Series chip and Samsung’s Galaxy Watch series, which runs on the firm’s own Exynos brand of processors.

With Google finally launching its own Pixel Watch this autumn, it’ll be interesting to see whether it rocks the new Qualcomm silicon. The most recent rumours have suggested Google will deploy the Exynos 9100. That’s a four-year old chipset that isn’t likely to inspire great excitement. However, reports have also suggested it could get a helping hand from a secondary chip sharing the load.

“The wearables industry continues to grow and present opportunities across multiple segments at an unprecedented pace,” said Pankaj Kedia, global head of Smart Wearables for Qualcomm in a press release. “The new wearable platforms – Snapdragon W5 Plus and Snapdragon W5 – represent our most advanced leap yet. Purpose-built for next generation wearables, these platforms address the most pressing consumer needs by delivering ultra-low power, breakthrough performance, and highly integrated packaging. Additionally, we extend our proven hybrid architecture with new low power innovations such as Deep Sleep and Hibernate states delighting consumers with premium user experiences while extending battery life.”

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