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Qualcomm's working on new smartwatch chips to revitalize Wear OS

Google put its smartwatch platform back in the spotlight this year by rebranding it from Android Wear to Wear OS, but aside from the new logo and name, not much has fundamentally changed for the operating system itself. However, thanks to new Qualcomm chipsets coming this fall, that may finally be changing.

The folks at Wareable recently spoke with Qualcomm's Senior Director of Wearables, Pankaj Kedia, who confirmed that Qualcomm will announce a new processing platform for smartwatches.

Qualcomm's current wearable chipset is the Snapdragon Wear 2100, and while that offered big improvements over the Snapdragon 400 that was previously being used with smartwatches, this upcoming one is said to be "the most radical leap yet in Google's wearable platform."

The new chip will come with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi by default, with options available for GPS and LTE. Kedia notes that the new processor will allow for smaller smartwatches with prolonged battery life, as well as improvements to ambient display modes. Also, thanks to the processor's low-power nature, it should allow for better health/fitness features.

According to Kedia –

This platform will significantly change the Wear OS ecosystem, what you expect from a smartwatch. It is working, we are shipping samples to our customers. I have seen it moving, it's very exciting.

When Qualcomm launches the new processor, it'll be joined by a "lead smartwatch" and other options from numerous partners by the coming holiday season.

No specifics on these upcoming watches were provided, but based on what we know so far, are you willing to give Wear OS a second chance?

Joe Maring was a Senior Editor for Android Central between 2017 and 2021. You can reach him on Twitter at @JoeMaring1.

  • About time!! Finally will be interested to buy another watch. Hopefully smaller watches, better battery life and a little faster
  • I love my LG watch Sport, But I could be enticed by a watch that has the same feature set in a smaller package. I guess I should say thinner. I like the diameter of the watch face.
  • About damn time, hopefully launching in a Pixel watch, or closely partnered watch, for the holiday season. The 2100 is so old, outdated, and inefficient that there is no way I’ll buy another Android powered watch until they have an updated chipset.
  • Maybe finally we will see some positive progress in smart watch manufacture.
  • Between battery life and then adding all these buttons to what was a really smooth and easy to use platform drove me to my S3 Frontier. When WearOS can do everything this thing can, I'll switch back.
  • I want a smartwatch bad! I haven't purchased one yet just waiting and waiting for a great watch with no compromises. I want stylish, long battery life and all things I need for fitness also like GPS, heart rate etc. You would think its not that hard but man all the ones I look at fall short on one of these.
  • Hopefully with Bluetooth 5.0?
  • Cool... this should attract more tech-niche enthusiasts. IMHO they'll need to improve screen efficiency and overall battery life too though to really put a dent in the market and pull the mass consumers away from their fitbit, Garmin and fitness oriented wear-ables.