At the end of 2018, Qualcomm launched the Snapdragon Wear 3100, a processor for smartwatches full of novelties. The main and perhaps most important was the co-processor for low-performance tasks and designed to extend autonomy. For its new batch of processors, Qualcomm has taken this idea and improved it. Thus was born the Snapdragon Wear 4100 family, made up of the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and Wear 4100+, the latter being the most interesting.
The Snapdragon Wear 4100+ is based on the hybrid architecture of the Snapdragon Wear 3100, that is, it has a fast SoC and an Always-On co-processor, but makes the jump to 12 nanometers. It is true that in smartphones we are already going for seven nanometers and that five nanometers are just around the corner, but it is quite an evolution with respect to the previous generation, which was built in 28 nanometers.
This is the Snapdragon Wear 4100+
To get to know this new family of smartwatch processors better, we are going to focus on the Snapdragon Wear 4100+. The fundamental difference is that the Snapdragon 4100+ includes the main processor, the co-processor, and all the additional chips, such as the PMIC, GPS, WiFi, Bluetooth, and RFEE, while the Snapdragon Wear 4100 includes the main processor and the additional ones, but not the co-processor. Additionally, the Wear 4100 supports Wear OS and AOSP and the Wear 4100+ only Wear OS.
That said, we begin by reviewing its components. The Snapdragon Wear 4100+ is built on a 12-nanometer process and consists of four ARM Cortex A53 cores at 1.7 Ghz “optimized for wearables”. The main processor can be an SMD529W or an SDA429W, while the co-processor will be a QCC1110.
This secondary processor will be in charge of offering the Always On experiences, such as the ambient mode, the sports modes, and the traditional clock mode. It can work on its own when tasks do not require the raw power of the main processor.
This was already done by its predecessor, but there are some important changes: instead of being able to represent only 16 colors in ambient mode, it can now display 64,000; It has kerning of numbers to improve its visibility, it can display maps and update the steps and heart rate in ambient mode, among other things.
RAM memory has also been improved, now it is LPDDR3 at 750 MHz instead of 400 Mhz; and the GPU, which happens to be the Adreno 504A instead of the Adreno 304.
Also new in the ISP, which happens to be dual and supports cameras up to 16 megapixels. What does all this translate into? Compared to the Snapdragon Wear 3100, 85% faster processor and memory speed, 2.5 times faster GPU, and twice the resolution camera, according to the manufacturer.
Qualcomm also claims to have improved energy efficiency, offering dynamic clock speeds, voltage scaling, support for low-power geolocation, and an “improved Bluetooth 5.0 architecture.” All this, says the American company, will result in 25% less energy consumption compared to the previous generation.
In terms of connectivity, the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ integrates up to Bluetooth 5.0, WiFi in the 2.4 GHz band, NFC, GPS (GPS, Glonass, Beidou, Galileo), and the X5 LTE modem. This will allow manufacturers who choose to offer global LTE Cat 4/3/1 connection in two or one antenna configuration.
And speaking of manufacturers, Qualcomm has taken the opportunity to announce that imoo and Mobvoi (the company in charge of TicWatch ) will be the first to bet on the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform in a series of products that will see the light at the end. imoo will launch the Z6 Ultra within 30 days, while Mobvoi will implement the latest from Qualcomm in the new Tic Watch Pro.