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Qualcomm launches new chip for next-generation smartwatches

by in News .

You may remember back in July we covered a new processor from Qualcomm, the Snapdragon 2500. Designed specifically for kid’s smartwatches, it offered better battery optimisation than the old 2100 CPU. But adults wouldn’t see it powering their smartwatches – and we were left in lurch about whether we’d get a faster one.

Well, good news! We’re pleased to report we do. Qualcomm has today announced the Snapdragon Wear 3100, and it’s all about better battery life.

The new processor’s key feature is it’s actually two processors in one (think twin-turbo engine, one small one large). The 3100 chip has a secondary low-power processor that processes work when the smartwatch isn’t in use (basically, when you’re not touching the display) and it sips power, rather than guzzling it.

It means it uses 20 per cent less energy than the 2100 chip, which will hopefully translate to smartwatches with a 20 per cent battery life improvement. We say hopefully, because there’s other variables in play with smartwatch battery life (battery capacity, software optimisation, display size) to name a few.

However, with a 20 per cent improvement in processor efficiency, it’ll be hard for even the daftest smartwatch OEMs to mess this one up. Unless they use a puny battery.
Qualcomm are also marketing this chip’s improved GPS battery handling. It’s designed to run GPS for 15-hours straight (most smartwatches die after 10).

Other than that, the 3100 chip is the same as the 2100. Yes, it has a secondary processor, but the primary processor is just the 2100 under another name. So, don’t expect a performance boost in the next generation of wearables. Manufacturers will have to look towards using more RAM to improve performance (6GB would be an improvement over the current generation of 4GB wearables) - especially for multitasking.
Latest update: 11/09/2018

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