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

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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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