Snapdragon Wear 3100 promises better battery life for next-gen Wear OS smartwatches: hands-on


Qualcomm served up a teaser for what we can expect with the next generation of smartwatches during its press event in San Francisco, where they took the covers off their new Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform. This new chip will be the brain powering many of the Wear OS smartwatches expected to be officially announced and launched this fall.

To make things perfectly clear, no actual consumer products were shown off during the event. What's pictured here is just a not-for-sale reference design device: one running Google’s Wear OS and made to demonstrate the capabilities of the Snapdragon Wear 3100. Most of the processing power of the chip is provided by its A7 processor cores, but it’s actually the new ultra-low-power co-processor that’s getting more of the attention. 

There are three particular areas that Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform improves in, so we'll cover them here.

Traditional Watch Mode


Some people just don't frequently use their smartwatches for all the things they're capable of doing, so if you share the same sentiments, then you'll appreciate the traditional watch mode that the platform offers. This watch mode shuts down the Wear OS processes and displays the time and nothing else. As a result, battery life is increased dramatically since power consumption is brought to a minimum. We're told that battery life in this mode can reach upwards of around 30 days.

Dedicated Sports Experiences


Focusing on specific tasks, the Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform is better able to direct resources to proper processes, such as workout and activity monitoring. With the dedicated sports experiences we checked out, we're told that battery life is optimized when accurately tracking workouts. The workout modes may not differ all that much from the ones we find in many smartwatches currently, but again, it's all about what's going behind the scenes to optimize the smartwatch's performance.

Rich Interactive & Enhanced Ambient Mode


And lastly, ambient mode will now offer more interaction that it did in the past. Typically, smartwatches would simply go into a low-power ambient mode when they time out, showing only the time and nothing more. However, with the new Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform calling the shots, this new enhanced ambient mode is more dynamic with its animations, shortcuts to many things, and surprisingly enough, its appearance mimics the usual interactive mode. In fact, we were surprised by this new enhanced ambient mode because the watch face appeared and functioned just like it does in interactive mode.

These features may not be ground-breaking, but let's not forget that they are for partner manufacturers to tweak and expand upon. They're the foundation for what Google's Wear OS will offer, so we're really eager to see what other new tricks will appear in next-gen Wear OS smartwatches this fall!

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5 Comments

1. HumbleJ06

Posts: 89; Member since: Aug 10, 2015

Getting 30 days is great for watch mode. I would be okay with a week's charge as long as all the functions were still available. Not sure if that will happen, but, I am still looking forward to seeing these next-gen Qualcomm 3100 watches.

2. Atechguy0

Posts: 918; Member since: Aug 03, 2018

The coprocessor kicks in when light things are needed like tracking steps and to show the time. So the A7 cores can then start back up when they are needed. This is a great trade off. If it increases battery life as much as they say. Then this is exactly what is needed. An upgrade to 64 bits or more processing power wasn't needed in the smart watch. Besides the SD Wear 3100 still has 4 cores, and it can use from what it looks like zero cores to 4 cores when need be. Especially since there is a separate coprocessor on board now. The older SD 2100 could use 1 core to 4 cores, and it didn't have a separate coprocessor.

4. HumbleJ06

Posts: 89; Member since: Aug 10, 2015

Thank you for the information, I had no idea it was capable of doing all that. Sounds like a great upgrade Qualcomm made to their newest processor.

3. OneLove123

Posts: 792; Member since: Aug 28, 2018

I might get back into smartwatch if the battery is really that much better than my Moto watch.

5. HumbleJ06

Posts: 89; Member since: Aug 10, 2015

Yeah, tell me about it. Loved the Moto but the battery life was horrible. My first gen finally gave out on me and no longer works. It was my favorite.

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