Qualcomm finally has a new chip for the next generation of Android smartwatches - ObeyAndroid

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Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Qualcomm finally has a new chip for the next generation of Android smartwatches

Its been two and a half years since Qualcomm last released a major new smartwatch chip, and in the time since, Android smartwatches have languished. But in the coming months, they could finally start seeing some meaningful improvements: Qualcomm is releasing a new processor for watches, called the Snapdragon Wear 3100, that’s meant to extend battery life, enhance always-on displays, and offer more versatility when it comes to sports devices and fitness sensors.
The new chip’s key feature is the addition of a secondary low-power processor, which is supposed to handle most of the work when a smartwatch isn’t in use. This co-processor will power a watch’s sensors and ambient display, doing so while using up to 20 times less energy than the main processor would, according to Qualcomm.
“The 95 percent of the time when you’re not actually interacting with [your watch], you are in ambient mode or always-sensing mode,” says Pankaj Kedia, Qualcomm’s wearables leader. “So the co-processor, that’s where you are 95 percent of the time ... we are doing less and less things in the main [processor].”
For this chip generation, that’s about all that’s changing. Both the Wear 3100 and the Wear 2100, its predecessor, share the same main processor — so there’s no reason to expect major speed gains. The co-processor is the main improvement, and that means almost all of the enhancements enabled by Qualcomm’s new chip come from what the co-processor can do.

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