Qualcomm is building a new smartwatch system on a chip (SoC) from the ground up.
The new chip will be unveiled in the fall alongside a new smartwatch, Qualcomm’s senior director of wearables, Pankaj Kedia, told Wareable. On top of that, several manufacturing partners will have Wear OS watches with the new SoC by the holidays.
This will be the first significant new wearables platform from Qualcomm since 2016. That was when the chip-maker released the Snapdragon Wear 2100 system. However, the 2100 was outdated at launch and didn’t deliver on promises of smaller watches and better performance.
“Over the last two years we’ve been working with many of our customers and looked at what consumers like and don’t like about products in the market,” said Kedia.
Qualcomm started from scratch with the new chip to make it more ‘dedicated’ to specific tasks. The SoCs will come in different variations, all with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi and some with GPS and LTE.
Additionally, the new chipset will enable smaller watches and make them better looking when not in use. Current smartwatches only light up when you look at them, but are blank or using the Ambient Display mode when you aren’t. It’s not clear how, but Kedia says the new platform will improve the look and feel of the watch, regardless if you are interacting with it.
On top of all this, Kedia says the platform will have improved battery life compared to what current watches.
This new chip could be the boost Wear OS needs to return to relevancy.