Today Qualcomm announced its new Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset designed for Android Wear Smartwatches with the promise of significantly extending the battery life of those devices.
The Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform is based on a new ultra-low power hierarchical system architecture approach. In this architecture, the high-performance quad-core A7 processors, the highly efficient integrated DSP, and a new ultra-low power co-processor work in together to deliver rich functionality, including LTE support, while still offering long battery life.
“Qualcomm Technologies has played a critical role in the evolution of the smartwatch segment and our customers are currently shipping more than 100 Wear OS by Google smartwatches with 25 brands globally based on our existing platforms,” said Anthony Murray, senior vice president and general manager, voice, music and wearables, Qualcomm Technologies International, Ltd. “With the Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform, we envisioned a new ultra-low power system architecture and in collaboration with the latest from the Wear OS by Google team, to help deliver a rich interactive mode, bring in new personalized experiences and support extended battery life for tomorrow’s smartwatches.”
The new coprocessor, the Qualcomm® QCC1110, has been designed from the ground up and is at the heart of the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform. It is small at ~21mm2 and optimized for ultra-low power operation, and also integrates a deep learning engine for custom workloads, such as keyword detection, and is extensible over time.
Additionally, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform includes a new wearable power management sub-system (PMW3100) to support lower power and higher integration, brings in a new DSP framework to support next-generation sensor processing in an open execution environment, and implements a new dual-display architecture to support the hierarchical approach. The 4G LTE modem is paired with new high-performance Gallium Arsenide power amplifiers, which helps to increase power efficiency in smartwatches.
This enables new experiences such as Enhanced Ambient Mode, Dedicated Sports Experiences, and Traditional Watch Mode. The Enhanced Ambient Mode helps the smartwatch to meet consumer desires for a fashion watch by supporting a smooth second hand, up to 16 colors, live complications and improved brightness. The Dedicated Sports Experiences is designed to allow active users to go for an ultra-marathon, swim long distances, bike for miles, or hike the mountains with GPS and heart rate turned on for the duration. The Traditional Watch Mode is designed to make it possible for consumers to continue to enjoy their beautiful watch for extended periods of time. Each one of these personalized experiences are supported by offloading the display and sensor processing from the A7 processors to the ultra-low power co-processor.
The main new feature is, however, support for Extended Battery Life. Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform is designed to help reduce power usage in areas such as low power modes, GPS/location batching, per minute/second clock updates, sensors processing, MP3 playback, and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth voice queries. This results in typical battery life day of use improvements ranging from 4 to 12 hours compared to the previous Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, depending on display type, battery capacity, and device configurations. The new Personalized Sports Experiences keep GPS and heart rate monitoring on for the duration of the activities and is designed to deliver up to 15 hours battery life (calculated based on typical 450mAh sports watch battery). The Traditional Watch Mode, great for travelling, supports an impressive week-long battery life to the smartwatch by switching to this mode from the Wear OS by Google experience and is designed to allow consumers to enjoy basic watch functions for an extended period.
The Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform comes in three variants targeting Bluetooth and Wi-Fi tethered smartwatches, GPS-based tethered smartwatches, and 4G LTE connected smartwatches.
Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc were announced as the first customers to launch products based on the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform.
“Qualcomm Technologies brings Fossil Group the latest technology that helps connect products into the lifestyle of our consumers, and this latest chip is no exception,” said Steve Evans, executive vice president, Fossil Group. “Our collaboration enables our constant reinvention of the smartwatch. As technology is enhanced, so are the product innovations and designs that we are able to offer our customers.”
The platform is in mass production and shipping today. Read more about the new platform at Qualcomm here.