The rebrand of Android Wear to Wear OS in March was just that, a rebrand. Google reiterated that Wear OS would gain new functionality in smaller, incremental updates. Meanwhile, on the hardware front, even recent and rumored watches are slated to use the same underlying chip.
The Snapdragon 2100 in question contributes to Wear OS being held back technologically, however, that might soon change with new Qualcomm chipsets coming this year.
Speaking to Wareable, Google and Qualcomm revealed that chipsets are coming in the fall with a new “lead smartwatch.” The chipmaker’s third-generation platform would be a significant departure design-wise from its first two offerings for Android Wear.
The Snapdragon 400 that powered the first Wear devices were originally phones chips with slight customizations. Following that, the current Snapdragon 2100 was only slightly more modified with changes to packaging, sensors, and software.
With this upcoming generation, Qualcomm touts “dedicated chips” with “no-compromises” and multiple variants for different use cases. For example, fitness geared devices will feature GPS built-in, with others including LTE. All watches will have Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as a baseline.
Presumably, a new chipset launched in 2018 would features a smaller process size than the 2100’s 28nm. As such, these chips will finally deliver on the promises of smaller devices, especially those catered towards women.
In regards to this latter category, Google notes that fitness brands are not happy with the current black and white ambient display as it does not look good. The company insinuates a change on this front powered by the new chips.
Another promised improvement includes a “significant” battery life upgrade both in use and when not being used. According to Wareable, these battery savings also open up more sensor usage for health with heart rate being able to operate longer.