Google’s Wear OS has been struggling to keep up with its big rivals Apple and Samsung when it comes to the smartwatch market. While part of that blame can be placed on the operating system itself, another part of it lies in the processors that the devices have been using with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 and 2100 basically sharing the same chipset with relatively minor upgrades.
It’s perhaps with some relief that Qualcomm has announced (via The Verge) two new WearOS processors that will give Wear OS its first significant speed increase in around four years, with the company claiming a significantly faster new processor,” and big jumps in performance for the GPU, memory, camera, and overall battery life. The new processor, which is jumping from a 28nm process to a 12nm one, comes with four A53 CPU cores clocked at 1.7GHz replacing the 3100’s A7 cores (at just 1.1GHz). Qualcomm claims that this new processor is capable of an 85 percent jump in performance. The GPU is now Adreno A504 (up to two and a half times faster than the 3100), along with faster memory. The shift to the new 12nm CPU architecture should also see a battery life improvement of around 25 percent.
Instead of just one processor, Qualcomm is shipping two different SKUs to developers with the Snapdragon 4100 Plus coming with an updated QCC1110 co-processor that’s capable of displaying as many as 64000 different colours, up from the 16 that the watches can currently display. The additional processor can also support new features like step tracking, continuous heart-rate tracking, alarms, haptic feedback, and more which were traditionally handled by the main processor, allowing the main processor to provide improved performance on apps, GPS tracking and UI navigation.
The first devices to run on these new chips are expected to be coming out later this year and represent a major speed update of Google’s struggling WearOS platform. However, it may also prove to be a case of too little too late as many manufacturers have abandoned Google’s WearOS in favour of other offerings as they struggled to keep up with the competition. This is either the game-changer they need or the last dash of excitement before they say goodbye to it all.
Last Updated: July 5, 2020