Qualcomm announces plans to push the Wear OS market forward

Ticwatch E3 Lifestyle
Ticwatch E3 Lifestyle (Image credit: Chris Wedel/Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Qualcomm has confirmed new Snapdragon Wear processors are coming later this year.
  • A new coalition was formed, comprised of over 60 companies in an effort to improve the wearable market.
  • Some companies, like Fossil Group, have already confirmed new smartwatches are coming later this year.

While Samsung and Google continue to get closer and closer, Qualcomm is on the outside looking in. Samsung is gearing up to launch its next series of wearables with the Galaxy Watch 4, with Google's new Wear OS-inspired software in-tow and possibly a Samsung-build SoC. Qualcomm isn't standing pat as the company announced its continued commitment to the Snapdragon Wear platform.

In addition to announcing that new Snapdragon Wear processors are on the way later this year, Qualcomm also announced the Wearable Ecosystem Accelerator. In the press release, this program brings together a conglomerate of different companies focused on the future of wearables. Given the continued popularity of smartwatches, it would make sense for Qualcomm to buckle down the hatches and make a move.

While Qualcomm did not outright announce a new processor that's on the way, there's hope that this new Wearable Ecosystem Accelerator will provide better options in the Android smartwatch market. It's no secret that one of the best Android smartwatches, the TicWatch Pro 3 GPS, is one of just a few two smartwatches running Qualcomm's latest Snapdragon Wear 4100 processor.

Our goal is to provide a vehicle in the industry where ecosystem members collaborate to deliver differentiated wearable experiences and inject new energy and innovation in this exciting space.

At the time, there was a lot of hope that smartwatch makers would jump aboard the Wear 4100 hype train, but only TicWatch took Qualcomm up on the offer. Meanwhile, Qualcomm managed to throw a bit of shade at Wear OS, stating that around 40 million "units" have been shipped since 2016. To put this in comparison, a report from Counterpoint Research suggests Apple sold 12.9 million units of the Watch 6 and Watch SE in Q4 2020 alone.

With the Wearable Ecosystem Accelerator in place, Qualcomm has joined more than 60 different companies together in an effort to push the non-Apple wearables forward. These companies include the likes of Fossil Group, BBK Electronics (parent company of Oppo and OnePlus), Verizon, Vodafone, and many more. Qualcomm will also be hosting its first "Qualcomm Wearables Ecosystem Summit" later this year, potentially bringing some new ideas to the market.

It's still unknown what exactly this means in terms of the fabled Pixel Watch and whether we'll be seeing a Qualcomm chip at the helm. Some rumors have claimed that a modified version of Google's Whitechapel SoC will take center stage. But rumors and speculation could all be left behind, and if Google wanted to keep Qualcomm happy, it wouldn't be a surprise for a Snapdragon Wear Pixel Watch.

Andrew Myrick
Senior Editor - Chromebooks and tablets

Andrew Myrick is a Senior Editor at Android Central. He enjoys everything to do with technology, including tablets, smartphones, and everything in between. Perhaps his favorite past-time is collecting different headphones, even if they all end up in the same drawer.