According to a rumor stemming from WinFuture, there’s a new Wear OS chipset in the works. The alleged processor could be known as the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 429 and would be the follow-up to the Snapdragon Wear 3100.
The report states that the Wear 429 would be a modified version of the regular Snapdragon 429 chipset, which is already in use by mid-range smartphones such as the Nokia 3.2. Since the chipset is powerful enough to run a smartphone, it would be a significant step up from the Wear 3100, which is just an incremental upgrade over the years-old Snapdragon Wear 2100.
The Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 429 allegedly could support four Cortex-A53 cores with 64-bit computing. According to the rumors, the Wear 429 is getting tested with 1GB of RAM and 8GB of internal storage, which is roughly double what many Wear OS smartwatches can handle.
Even today, most Wear OS smartwatches use the Wear 2100 chipset, which first debuted in 2016. The Fossil Sport is one of the very few Wear OS devices that runs on the 3100 chipset, and its performance is still laggy when compared to non-Wear OS devices, especially the reigning champion of wearables, the Apple Watch.
According to WinFuture, the Wear 429 chip won’t land until 2020.
Too little too late?
This all begs the question: if this Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 429 chipset is real and actually a major upgrade for wearables, will it be too late to save Wear OS when it finally arrives? By now, most people who actually own or have owned a Wear OS device likely associate the platform with slow and buggy experiences. And those who haven’t used a Wear OS device would probably be unlikely to switch as they are already locked into another platform.
Just like last year, there are rumors swirling that Google could launch something like a Pixel Watch this year. Theoretically, this could help Wear OS get out of the mess it’s in, but a Pixel Watch would still launch with a Wear 3100 processor if it lands this year. Unless that watch is absolutely mind-blowing on that chip, it would only hurt Google’s chances at keeping Wear OS relevant.
However, if Google (or any company) waits for this Wear 429 chipset to be ready in 2020, it will have been so long that it might also be devastating to Wear OS.
Long story short, there are no easy answers to this problem. It’s good news that Qualcomm is working on a new processor and hasn’t abandoned Wear OS, but the operating system is in dire straits at the moment and needs a solution here and now — not in 2020.