Qulacomm is one of the leaders in the smartphone processor market with its Snapdragon chips, but the same cannot be said for smartwatches. Since 2020, the company has offered manufacturers the 12-nanometer Snapdragon 4100 platform, which now cannot compete with solutions from Samsung and Apple. For example, the Exynos W920 chip in the Galaxy Watch4 is manufactured using a 5 nm process, and the S7 in the Apple Watch 7 uses a 7 nm process. That’s why Qulacomm has finally presented a competitor for them – the Snapdragon W5+ and W5 processors, manufactured using a 4-nanometer process.
As you can see, Qulacomm is abandoning the Wear brand, instead shifting its line of chips under the Snapdragon brand. Now it will consist of two solutions: Snapdragon W5+ for premium smartwatches and W5 for simpler devices such as fitness trackers, children’s watches, and corporate wristbands. As Qualcomm’s global head of smartwearables, Pankaj Kedia, noted, both chips were designed from the ground up and have nothing to do with smartphone solutions.
The most interesting for the smartwatches of the future is undoubtedly the Snapdragon W5+ with a 4nm processor and a 22nm co-processor, which is designed to perform specific tasks such as audio playback, keyword detection for virtual assistants, and Bluetooth 5.3 notifications. In addition, the coprocessor takes over some of the health tracking functions, including sleep and heart rate monitoring.
Essentially, the main processor in the Snapdragon W5+ is only used for interactive functions such as calls, 3D watch faces and animations, and GPS navigation.
According to Qualcomm, the transition to a smaller technological process and the use of a coprocessor provides 50% higher battery life, two times increased operating speed and a 30% smaller platform size when compared to the Wear 4100.
According to Pankaj Kedia, the Snapdragon W5+ can provide several days of battery life in some cases, which is good for Wear OS, as we know Google’s operating system is quite demanding. Here we can mention the decrease in the working time of the Galaxy Watch4 compared to the Watch3, which runs on Tizen.
Kedia also noted that Bluetooth watches with an always-on display and a 300 mAh battery will get an additional 15 hours of battery life. But these numbers are based on Qualcomm’s own internal research.
You won’t have to wait long to verify all the company’s claims this time, there are already 25 Snapdragon W5+ and W5 smartwatches in development. OPPO and Mobvoi will be the first to release their models. The OPPO Watch 3 model with Snapdragon W5 should be presented already in August, and the TicWatch with W5+ from Mobvoi this fall.