Qualcomm teases new wearable chip, likely for next-gen Wear OS smartwatches

Wear OS logo on a Fossil Gen 6 watch
(Image credit: Nick Sutrich / Android Central)

What you need to know

  • Qualcomm posted a tweet to tease a new Snapdragon chip it's expecting to announce soon.
  • The chip appears to be geared towards wearable devices such as Wear OS smartwatches.
  • The new chip could be the rumored Snapdragon Wear 5100 for next-generation Wear OS 3 smartwatches.

The big Wear OS update is expected to arrive later this year on current smartwatches, but Qualcomm seems ready to get the ball rolling on next-generation Wear OS devices. According to a tweet posted this week, Qualcomm has a new chipset "coming soon."

The tweet shows an animation of a partially revealed Snapdragon chip inside what appears to be a smartwatch. The animation ends with "Wear what matters," suggesting that this is coming to wearables (and likely Wear OS). The tweet caption further corroborates this, stating, "the clock is ticking on something big."

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There have been rumors of Qualcomm working on a Snapdragon Wear 5100 chipset, although alleged specs were somewhat mixed. There did not appear to be any significant CPU gains from the chip compared to the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform currently on many of the best Wear OS watches. However, one rumor indicated that we could expect a much more efficient 4nm process with support for as much as 4GB of RAM.

The rumor mill has been pretty quiet lately, so it's unclear if there's any truth to these reports. That said, Qualcomm is expected to announce the new chip "soon," meaning it's likely geared towards new Wear OS 3 smartwatches to better compete with the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and Google's upcoming Pixel Watch.

Of course, given the slow adoption of Qualcomm's current wearable chipset, it remains to be seen just how much this will advance Wear OS smartwatches in the near term. With any luck, OEMs like Fossil and Mobvoi will adopt this new chip sooner rather than later.

Derrek Lee
News Editor

Derrek is a long-time Nokia and LG fanboy who loves astronomy, videography, and sci-fi movies. When he's not working, he's most likely working out or smoldering at the camera.