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Snapdragon Wear 5100 May Not Be A Major Upgrade

Qualcomm Snapdragon 865 5G Chip 01 1
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Qualcomm has a new wearable chip in the works, supposedly called Snapdragon Wear 5100. The chipset was first spotted in development last month when the company uploaded code that references it. Now we have some additional information about this upcoming Qualcomm wearable chip courtesy of Dutch publication WinFuture.

According to the report, the Snapdragon Wear 5100 is a quad-core processor with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores. That’s contrary to what the initial report suggested last month: four Cortex-A73 cores. If the new report is true, then the upcoming wearable chip from Qualcomm may not provide a major boost in performance over its predecessor, the Snapdragon Wear 4100. The latter also features four Cortex-A53 CPU cores.

Qualcomm might build the Snapdragon Wear 5100 on a more advanced process node than a 12nm process used for last year’s chip. But there’s little hope it would be a 5nm chipset. Samsung’s newly-launched Exynos W920, which powers its latest Galaxy Watch 4 series, is a 5nm SoC and a direct competitor to Qualcomm’s upcoming wearable chip. It has fewer CPU cores — two Cortex-A55 cores — but they are faster than the Cortex-A53 cores that Snapdragon Wear 5100 is said to use. A 5nm process node also ensures improved power efficiency.

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Like the Exynos W920, the new Qualcomm wearable chips could also feature a dedicated ultra-low-power co-processor for low-power usage such as Always On Display (AOD). Samsung’s chip features the Cortex-M55 for this purpose.

The new report further adds that Qualcomm is testing the initial samples of the Snapdragon Wear 5100 in various memory configurations. It is using 1GB or 2GB of RAM and 8GB or 16GB of storage. For reference, the Exynos W920 has 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of storage. The company is also testing some variants of the chipset with two cameras of 5-megapixel and 16-megapixel resolutions, in case some OEM decides to add cameras in their smartwatches, you know.

Samsung’s semiconductor division will reportedly manufacture the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100. However, the American company could also tap Chinese chipmaker SMIC for supplying some of the variants.

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Qualcomm has its task cut out for it with the Snapdragon Wear 5100

Google and Samsung recently joined hands to rebuild Wear OS, significantly changing the platform both in hardware and software departments. Meanwhile, Qualcomm is now left behind as the majority of Snapdragon-powered smartwatches aren’t getting updated to the new Wear OS. Those few that are getting Wear OS 3 updates will also have to wait for almost a year.

Qualcomm now has its task cut out for it. The company needs to come up with a wearable chip that can compete with Samsung’s Exynos W920. But the initial reports about the Snapdragon Wear 5100 aren’t telling a promising story. We will have to wait and see how the new Qualcomm wearable chip shapes up down the line.