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Qualcomm teases new Wear OS chip

Qualcomm has teased the launch of a new wearable chip that should help Wear OS smartwatches reach the next level of performance and battery efficiency.

The official Snapdragon Twitter account has tweeted the following:

Besides the headline message that “The clock is ticking on something big” with an accompanying watch emoji (as if the words weren’t sufficiently on-the-nose), the accompanying animation exhorts us to “Wear what matters”.

The forthcoming mystery Snapdragon chip is then said to be “coming soon”.

Qualcomm last updated its wearable chip line way back in 2020, which is an age ago in mobile processing terms. The current Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 chip represented quite a leap forward for Wear OS devices, having increasingly lagged behind the Apple Watch and its power-efficient (not to mention just plain powerful) S-series chip, though it wasn’t widely adopted.

It’s now looking more than a little long in the tooth, too. It’s built using a 12nm production standard, which is way behind the times in terms of power-efficiency. Apple’s latest wearable, the Apple Watch 7, uses a 7nm chip, which itself has been around since 2020 and is due an upgrade.

Meanwhile the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 has demonstrated the advances that can be made for a Wear OS device with its custom Exynos W920 chip. This is built using a significantly smaller (and thus way more efficient) 5nm process.

In our 4.5 star Galaxy Watch 4 review, we concluded that the Galaxy Watch 4 benefited from greatly improved app loading and extended battery life of up to two days.

Presumably, Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 5100 – or whatever it ends up being called – will make similar improvements to the performance and battery life of Wear OS smartwatches.

We’re not sure when this new chip will be revealed at this point. Who knows, maybe the Google Pixel Watch will represent its debut towards the end of the year.

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