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Sunday, November 27, 2022

Qualcomm Snapdragon 5100 leaks point to big battery gains

We could be closer to a new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear smartwatch chipset, if new leaks are to be believed.

WinFuture has reported details of the new 5100 and 5100+ chipset – which looks to have significant performance and battery life advances.

The Snapdragon 4100 architecture was released two years ago, and is still the foundation for the latest round of Wear OS smartwatches, including the Fossil Gen 6 and TicWatch Pro 3 Ultra GPS.

Qualcomm teased that it was working on significant new technology last year – but since then things have gone quiet.

For those that understand processor lingo, WinFuture has alleged that Samsung (which manufactures Qualcomm silicon) will shrink the 5100’s SoC down from 12nm to 4nm, which will be more power efficient. That could mean better battery life. How good? Well, it remains to be seen as Wear OS smartwatches have generally languished at a single day, through four generations of Snapdragon Wear.

However, the report says that the main core will remain an Arm Cortex-A53 at 1.7 GHz – the same as 4100. This indicates that the focus of the Snapdragon 5100 might not be huge increases in speed, but better power efficiency, especially while handling always-on sensors and displays.

This follows on from comments made by Qualcomm in a briefing with Wareable back in July 2021 about a new platform aimed at wearables for kids, pets and seniors.

Qualcomm said it was building this processor platform “from the ground up”, with an SoC for high performance and a co-processor for always-on use cases. Both are designed to be light on power for longer battery life.

It’s also reported that Snapdragon 5100/5100+ will support PDDR4x RAM and future watches will use up to 4GB. And the Wear 5100+ will include a QCC5100 co-processor.

So when will we see this in action? Not soon – even if Qualcomm took the wrappers off Snapdragon 5100 now, it would take months (at least) of testing to get it implemented into watches.

But it’s another piece of the puzzle, along with the new Wear OS 3.0, which points to a rosy future for Google-powered smartwatches.

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