Having launched the SD2100 wearable platform all the way back in 2016, the smartwatch segment has needed new silicon to breathe fresh life into the market for quite a while. Google began the resuscitation of Android Wear by changing its name to Wear OS back in March, and today Qualcomm has finally announced its new Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform (SD3100) that brings extended battery life and new personalized, fluid experiences for everyone.
The SD3100 platform features a quad-core A7 processor along with integrated DSP, an ultra-low-power co-processor, and an embedded 4G/LTE modem to aid always-on connectivity. Qualcomm’s new wearable platform has the following aims:
“The new capabilities are designed to allow consumers to enjoy the beauty of a fashion watch with the power of a smartwatch, the battery life of a sports watch with the richness of a smartwatch, and the utility of an analog watch with the flexibility of a smartwatch.”
The SD3100 platform brings new personalized experiences such as Enhanced Ambient Mode that supports a smooth second with live complications and improved brightness.
The Dedicated Sports Experience allows users to go for extended runs, swims, bike rides or hikes with both the GPS function and heart rate tracker enabled for up to 15 hours, up from the three hours that the SD2100 could manage. This is achieved by placing the A7 processor in dormant mode and running on just the DSP and co-processing units.
The Traditional Watch Mode trims the watch processes down to essential watch functions that allow the watch to get up to 30-days of usage. Unlike Sports Mode, extended usage is achieved by relying only on the co-processor. In typical usage, Qualcomm says that users can run the watch in full Wear OS mode for 1-2 days and then switch to Watch Mode for the rest of the week. It’s expected that power efficiency will be extended further in future releases as the drivers and firmware are optimized.
The image above depicts a direct comparison between the new SD3100 and SD2100 platforms, with some impressive numbers being claimed, which goes some way to explaining the increased battery life. With the new release, Qualcomm says that vendors such as Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc will be among to announced SD3100 based smartwatches.
In a nutshell, the SD3100 wearable platform brings week-long battery life with new experiences such second hands, enhanced ambient mode, extended GPS and heart rate usage. The added power-efficiency will let vendors choose to either make smartwatches with slimmer profiles to finally cater to those that find the current crop of wearables too bulky for their wrists or stay the same size but with increased longevity.
Here’s hoping that the likes of Mobvoi, Huawei, LG, and the other mainstream Wear OS manufacturers can make the most of the SD3100 platform and give the consumer some compelling choices in the wearables market.