Qualcomm’s next wearable chip will support eye tracking, German tech outlet WinFuture reports, adding that the silicon rumored to be called the Snapdragon Wear 3100 won’t only be used by future smartwatches but will also power AR solutions such as Google Glass. “Augmented reality glasses” are specifically referenced by one Qualcomm-made job listing related to the company’s upcoming system-on-chip, as per the same report.
While the San Diego, California-based semiconductor manufacturer already commercialized eye tracking technologies with its Snapdragon 800-series chips, the main challenge of allowing for such solutions in the context of wearables is making sure they’re extremely energy-efficient so as to make the most of much smaller-capacity batteries than what’s usually available in smartphones and standalone virtual reality headsets. Eye tracking itself allows for efficient AR and VR performance as it enables foveated rendering, a technique which only renders high-resolution textures that users are focused on while committing fewer resources to the rest of any digital scene in real time.
The Snapdragon Wear 3100 will be derivative of the Snapdragon 212 mobile chip and have a quad-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU, as per recent reports. The silicon is widely expected to power Google’s upcoming Pixel smartwatches which are said to be in the works and are suspected to be launching at the company’s next hardware event this fall. The Alphabet-owned company is reportedly working on three models, though it’s still unclear to what degree will the trio differ among themselves. The Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL Android flagships are also likely to debut in early October, together with a second generation of the Pixel Buds, industry insider Evan Blass claimed last week. Qualcomm itself already confirmed its next wearable chip will be announced near the end of the year and end up powering at least one smartwatch that will become available for purchase by the next holiday season. The company claims its upcoming silicon will be the first SoC designed from the ground up for wearables, especially smartwatches with always-on displays.