Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Inc., has launched its new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100 platforms — Snapdragon Wear 4100+ and Snapdragon Wear 4100 — designed for next-generation connected smartwatches. The new launch couldn’t come at a better time when the global wearables market — led by greater adoption of smartwatches, smart hearables, and smart shoes — is forecast to reach 260 million units in 2023, or almost $30 billion, up from 142 million units in 2019, according to CCS Insight.
Based on Qualcomm’s ultra-low-power hybrid architecture, the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ platform includes a super-fast system-on-chip (SoC), a smarter always-on (AON) co-processor, and big improvements in platform power based on 12-nm process technology compared to its previous platform. All these improvements are designed to deliver enhanced experience across interactive, ambient, sports, and watch modes.
The new SoC promises 85% higher performance compared with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, which will deliver faster app launches, more responsive UX, and richer photo and video experiences, said Qualcomm. In addition, the smarter AON co-processor now supports up to 64K color.
“Our next-generation wearable platform, Snapdragon Wear 4100+, gives you a high-performance, super-responsive experience while delivering extended battery life,” said Pankaj Kedia, global business head, smart wearables segment, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., in a video presentation. The 4100+ platform has a new high-performance quad-core CPU, next-generation Adreno graphics processor, double the memory, and a 16-megapixel (MP) camera, and the performance boost is more than 85%, he added.
In addition, it includes a super-fast modem while reducing power consumption, as well as a smart always-on co-processor, and it is more capable in the ambient mode or in the watch mode, Kedia said. “You get a lot more capability than you got in the past — low power and extended battery life.”
Kedia said that the company achieved the increased performance and more than 25% longer battery life by using the 12-nm process and a host of optimization. “You put all of this together, and you get an immersive interactive experience — a richer ambient experience, a powerful sports mode, and an enhanced watch mode.”
Low-power optimizations include the 12-nm low-power process technology, dual DSPs for optimal workload partitioning, support for dynamic clock and voltage scaling, Qualcomm Sensor Assisted Positioning for Wearables, low-power location tracking, and Bluetooth 5.0. Together, these enhancements deliver reduced power consumption of more than 25% and longer battery life compared with the company’s previous platforms.
What’s new in the 4100+ architecture
The high-performance SoC comes with improved CPU, GPU, memory, cellular modem, camera subsystem with dual dedicated DSPs for modem location, and sensors/audio. The details include quad-core A53 processors, Qualcomm Adreno 504 class graphics processing, faster LPDDR3 memory (750 MHz), and dual ISPs with support for up to 16-MP cameras.
The 4G LTE mode, based on 12-nm process technology, has been significantly improved from the previous platform, said Qualcomm, with a dedicated DSP, low-power features such as eDRX, platform-level power management, and support for Cat 4/3/1 and single/dual antennas.
The smarter, enhanced, and ultra-low-power AON co-processor — for offloading things like the display, sensors, maps, and time — enables up to 64K color, up from 16 colors, and extends offload experiences that now include continuous heart-rate monitoring and sleep for health and wellness, faster tilt-to-wake responsiveness, step counting, alarms, timers, and haptics for an improved traditional watch mode. It also offers a better software interface to manage the interactions between the SoC and co-processors.
The hybrid platform approach brings enhanced experiences across interactive, ambient, sports, and watch modes, said Qualcomm. These range from support for additional immersive experiences with camera, voice assistant, and voice/video messaging in interactive mode to traditional watch mode features such as heart rate, steps, alarms, reminders, and battery indicator with minimal impact on performance or battery life.
Available now, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platforms come in two variants. These include the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ platform, which includes the main SoC (SDM429w or SDA429w) and the AON co-processor (QCC1110), along with the companion chips including PMIC, RF for modem/GPS and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, and RF front end, and the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform, which includes the main SoC along with the companion chips. Both variants support the Android Open Source Platform (AOSP) and the Wear OS by Google OS platform.
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