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Qualcomm Embraces Wear OS, Debuts Efficient Chipset

by Justin Herrick | September 11, 2018September 11, 2018 6:30 am PDT

Qualcomm’s new chip is made entirely for wearables. By the end of the year, we’ll see several smartwatches that take advantage of the Snapdragon Wear 3100. The chipset might sound complex; however, its design focuses on simplicity more than anything else.

With Wear OS getting a major upgrade this fall, the chipmaker felt it could throw support behind the platform and attract hardware manufacturers. Google continues working on software, and the Snapdragon Wear 3100 should improve efficiency for all smartwatches. Maybe Wear OS devices will finally gain traction now.

Everyone demands more power, but that’s not necessarily what we need out of a smartwatch. It’s battery life that has suffered the most on almost all models and platforms. Qualcomm, though, thinks it mastered the balance between performance and power to increase longevity for users.

Qualcomm created three experiences that smartwatches can leverage. The Enhanced Ambient mode resembles what smartwatches have normally offered. You get a colorful, active watch face that can share quick snippets of information. It’s meant to look like a traditional watch face but maintain the brainpower that a smartwatch ushers in.

As for the Sports mode, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 goes all-in on physical activity — distance, heart rate, location, etc.

The Traditional Watch mode switches your Wear OS device into a low-power state that relies on a ‘co-processor’ and extends battery life for “extended periods of time.” It sounds similar to what Mobvoi did with the TicWatch Pro, but any Wear OS device can benefit here.

Depending on a smartwatch’s specifications and your use, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 could last for as much as three times longer on a single charge than the Snapdragon Wear 2100. That’s a big jump that hardware manufacturers, as well as users, will appreciate. Wear OS has been missing this type of optimization all along.

When holiday shopping begins in Q4 2018, three brands will ship Wear OS devices with the Snapdragon Wear 3100. Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc are the first partners. So we still have to wait and see if there’s a Pixel Watch launching in the next few weeks.

Qualcomm

Justin Herrick

Justin is easily attracted to power buttons. His interest in technology started as a child in the 1990s with the original PlayStation, and two...

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