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Qualcomm could launch a new smartwatch chipset soon, spied code suggests

Few wearables run the Snapdragon Wear 4100, but a new chipset could be on tap regardless.

Published onAugust 5, 2021

Mobvoi TicWatch E3 weather widget
Eric Zeman / Android Authority
  • Qualcomm is seemingly readying a new Snapdragon Wear chipset.
  • The chipset is believed to be called the Snapdragon Wear 5100.
  • Evidence suggests it’s based on the 11nm process with a quad-core design.

New evidence suggests that the next Qualcomm smartwatch chipset is in the works, possibly bearing the Snapdragon Wear 5100 title.

XDA-Developers recently combed through new code published to Qualcomm’s Code Aurora development wiki and found a few tasty details in the process.

A specific branch of code tagged as “LAW.UM.2.0-00700-SW5100.0” presents two interesting snippets of info. Firstly, the “LAW” in the title could point to “Linux Android Wear,” according to XDA. Secondly, the “SW5100” could be a condensed version of the Snapdragon Wear 5100 moniker. Taken together, this suggests that the new code is related to new smartwatch silicon from Qualcomm.

XDA also discovers evidence that the platform could be based on an 11nm process with four Arm Cortex-A73 cores. This would be a notable efficiency and power improvement over the Snapdragon Wear 4100’s cocktail of four older Cortex-A53 cores based on a 12nm process and a further improvement over the Wear 3100’s 28nm design.

Snapdragon Wear 5100: When will it launch?

There’s no official indication if or when Qualcomm will launch a new chipset. If it’s anytime soon, it’ll be a notable change of tact for the company. Before the Snapdragon Wear 4100 debuted last year, Qualcomm’s wearable chipsets saw gaps of nearly two years between releases. Wearable chips were never Qualcomm’s priority.

Few wearables currently run the Snapdragon Wear 4100 chipset as is. Like the Ticwatch E3, the watches that use it prove to pack excellent battery life and decent performance. Several devices on this platform will also be upgradeable to Wear OS 3 in the coming months, so OEMs have no financial incentive to adopt a new chipset. For Qualcomm, its focus remains smartphone chipsets.

But considering the renewed effort Google and Samsung are putting into Wear OS, it might be as good a time as any for a new, faster, and more efficient Snapdragon chipset.