Qualcomm has announced a brand new processor designed specifically for smartwatches and wearables. The Snapdragon 2100 has been developed to enable manufacturers to create thinner smartwatches with longer-lasting batteries, and make it easier to design watches that don’t need to be tethered to phones.

Snapdragon 2100 has two versions: ‘Tethered’, which has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and needs to be connected to a smartphone. Then there’s the ‘connected’ version which uses an LTE modem and also has built-in low power Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. This model has been developed so users can answer phone calls, stream music, send messages, etc. all without the need to carry their phones with them. Everything happens directly on the wearable. In theory, this will make it easier for hardware makers to create LTE smartwatches that can function independently.

As well as being more efficient — and more capable than the Snapdragon 400 — Qualcomm’s newly announced chip is also 30% smaller. This will inevitably lead to thinner and sleeker smartwatch designs in the future. The processor happens have some smarts too:

An integrated, ultra-low power sensor hub supports richer algorithms with greater accuracy, providing a cohesive picture of users and their environments. And whether tethered or connected, the processor uses 25 percent less power, extending the wearable’s battery life and offering manufacturers more freedom to innovate in features and design.

Qualcomm describes the 2100 as the ‘cornerstone’ of its Snapdragon Wear platform. And, while smartwatches seem like the most obvious use-case for the new Snapdragon processor, Qualcomm also sees it being used in various wearable trackers, sports watches, headsets, smart eyewear and virtually anything else you’d class as wearable tech.

The first Snapdragon 2100-equipped products are already in development, and I think it’s safe to predict that when the next wave of Android Wear watches start shipping, they’ll be powered by Qualcomm’s latest chip.

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