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Qualcomm launches the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform, complete with a series-first Plus variant

The new Snapdragon Wear 4100+. (Source: Qualcomm)
The new Snapdragon Wear 4100+. (Source: Qualcomm)
The Snapdragon Wear 3100 was Qualcomm's latest dedicated SoC for smartwatches - until today. It has been supplanted by the new 4100 - as well as the 4100+. Both feature a new processor, paired with an ultra-low-power co-processor. The 4100+ distinguishes itself with an exclusive chipset for enhanced always-on displays.

The latest iteration of the Snapdragon Wear series is here, and stands ready to help the potential smartwatches of the near future get taken seriously as more effective devices.

Qualcomm asserts that its new architecture and design improves practically any aspect of their function compared to that of its predecessor (the 3100), including their haptics, power management, user activity-tracking, connectivity and speed. Furthermore, it has a Plus variant in 2020, which comes with an always-on display-specific co-processor.

The Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform's main SoC (the SDM429w or SDA429w) is made up of 4 ARM Cortex-A53 cores with a max clock of up to 1.7GHz that are "optimized for wearables". It is also based on a 12 nanometer (nm) architecture, whereas the 3100 is 28nm. It is paired with the Adreno 504 GPU and the (also 12nm) ultra-low-power QCC1110 co-processor, which manages dual Qualcomm Hexagon digital signal processors (DSPs) for smart workload-shifting.

Qualcomm claims that this combination confers up to 25% improvements in battery life, as well as "more than 85% faster performance", on watches with these processors compared to 3100-based devices.

Furthermore, the 4100+'s AON co-processor can result in always-on displays with up to 64K colors (as opposed to 16K from the 3100), as well as the support for sleep-tracking, heart-rate and general time-keeping visualizations in this mode of which the previous generation was incapable.

Otherwise, the two 4100 variants have new chips for PMIC, RFFE, GPS, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth, on-device security and optional 4G/LTE connectivity in common. All in all, they may make for some appreciably powerful watches. We may be able to confirm this soon: Qualcomm has also let slip that the next-gen Mobvoi TicWatch Pro will be based on this platform. 

This upcoming smartwatch will probably run Wear OS, which may gain a new lease of life which these new processors. On that note, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 supports this system as well as open-source software, whereas the 4100+ is only rated to support the former.

More detail on the new Snapdragon Wear platform. (Source: Qualcomm)
More detail on the new Snapdragon Wear platform. (Source: Qualcomm)



Qualcomm Press Release

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2020 06 > Qualcomm launches the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform, complete with a series-first Plus variant
Deirdre O'Donnell, 2020-06-30 (Update: 2020-06-30)