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Qualcomm wants to give you more time with your smartwatch

Qualcomm Watch Snapdragon
© Qualcomm, eliahinsomnia / Shutterstock.com, NextPit

Qualcomm announced two new platforms for wearables today . While the Snapdragon W5+ is aimed at the high-performance device market, the Snapdragon W5 arrives as the new SoC for intermediate devices. Both platforms promise to extend battery life and further shrink the size of coming generations of smartwatches.


TL;DR

  • Ultra-low power platform is based on 4nm process technology and is purpose-built for next generation wearables.
  • New enhancements to wearable hybrid architecture offer 50% lower power, 2X higher performance, 2X richer features, and 30% smaller size compared to previous generation.
  • Oppo and Mobvoi will be the first manufacturers to announce smartwatches based on these new platforms.

Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ and Snapdragon W5 platforms specs sheet
The new Snapdragon W5+ and Snapdragon W5 platform specifications / © Qualcomm

The new Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 are platforms designed for ultra-low power consumption and high performance with a focus on extended battery life and sleek designs.

During the launch event for the new platforms, Pankaj Kedia, senior product director at Qualcomm, placed a lot of emphasis on the intergenerational technology leap. And it needs to be said that despite all the marketing behind a new release, looking at the numbers on paper, the new generation of SoCs for wearables appears to be significantly superior when compared to the previous generation.

Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ and Snapdragon W5 platforms specs sheet compared
Compared to the previous generation, released in 2020, the jump in performance is clear / © Qualcomm

The new Snapdragon W5+ offers 50% lower power, 2X higher performance, 2X richer features and 30% smaller size compared to the Snapdragon wear 4100 Plus. In addition, the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 is built on hybrid architecture, featuring a 4nm system (Qualcomm SW5100) and 22nm on the integrated co-processor (Qualcomm QCC5100).

Among the specifications, we also have a new ultra-low-power Bluetooth 5.3 architecture, low-power islands for Wi-Fi, GNSS and audio, and low-power states like Deep Sleep and Hibernate.

Of course, Qualcomm worked closely with Google to integrate the new W5 platforms with Wear OS for smartwatches. According to the principals of both companies, the goal here is to deliver new levels of performance, capacity and battery life form both hardware and operating system levels.

Qualcomm Snapdragon W5+ and Snapdragon W5 platforms battery usage compared
In Qualcomm's tests, the gain in size and battery life with the Snapdragon W5+ seems obvious, but we need to test the new SoC in everyday life / © Qualcomm

When we will see the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 in action

Qualcomm revealed that there are already 25 projects in the pipeline across segments based on the new platforms. The first announcements should arrive through Oppo and Mobvoi as early as 2022.

According to Oppo, the Oppo Watch 3 series will launch in August. As the first smartwatch powered by the Snapdragon W5 wearable platform, the SoC for intermediate devices. Mobvoi, meanwhile, is expected to launch the next generation of the TicWatch smartwatch series based on the new Snapdragon W5+ Gen1 platform. All rumors lead us to believe that this device is the TicWatch 4 Pro.

In addition to the usual customers, Qualcomm also announced partnerships for building the components of its ecosystem, such as Tile, Bosh, Philips and NXP.

Finally, considering that gain in wear time of a smartwatch is the ultimate goal of manufacturers and users, Qualcomm's new W5 platforms for wearables seem to perform pretty well at least in lab tests. Now we need to find out how the two platforms perform in the daily basis. We are excited about it, are you?

What do you think about the new possibilities opened up for the wearables industry with the launch of the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 platforms? When it comes to smartwatches is extending battery life and decreasing the size of products something that catches your eye? I'm curious to know your opinion in the comments below.

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