Qualcomm yesterday announced the brand new Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and W5 Plus Gen 1 chipsets, aimed to be used in future Android smartwatches. The new chips are made on the new 4nm architecture and are far more efficient and powerful than the previous Snapdragon 4100 generation.
According to the press release, the new W5 Gen 1 promises up to 50% lower power consumption and two times higher performance than the Snapdragon 4100 platform. It also supports the latest technologies, making it one of the best chips for Android smartwatch manufacturers.
The problem with Android smartwatches
The new chip means that Android smartwatches aren’t dead after all, and we can finally get our hopes up that manufacturers will take the smartwatch world more seriously. OEMs introduced smartwatches many years ago but failed to gain traction as they were slow, buggy, and could barely even last a day on a single charge.
I used to sport the LG Watch Style, announced around the same time as the LG G6, back in February 2017. It was beautiful, and it was powered by the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip. Unfortunately, the old Wear OS software was everything but impressive, and the watch would often die after an 8-hour shift. It also often didn’t show the time, as it would bug out and freeze for 5-10 minutes before it would restart. Android smartwatches always looked better than Apple’s offerings – which is subjective – but they lacked performance, durability, and, most importantly, software.
Now that Google and Samsung have developed the Wear OS 3.0 platform together, we have a chance to see new and impressive smartwatches. The new Snapdragon chip also brings back the hope that many of us have been waiting for. We – Android users – finally have a chance to see smartwatches that can last for more than a day, and the new SoC is also bringing new features that can finally compete against the Apple Watch, at least on paper.
New chips finally mean better performance
While the Snapdragon 4100 and 4100+ were a welcome upgrade over the previous generation, it was hardly innovative, and they struggled to bring massive improvements to the user experience. However, the new W5 Gen 1 platform offers everything we’ve been asking for many years, and OEMs finally have a chance to show that Android’s Wear OS is much more.
On paper, the new W5 Gen 1 chips offer up to 50% better power consumption, and they’re also twice as fast. They have more features, and support new technologies such as Bluetooth 5.3, and integrated speakers. They’re also smaller, giving OEMs more space to squeeze in slightly larger batteries. Smartwatches rocking the Wear OS 3.X platform will also benefit from the new software improvements, features, and enhancements. They’ll hopefully offer a smooth performance and battery life that lasts for more than a day.
Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 smartwatches are coming
Qualcomm announced that OPPO and Mobvoi would be among the first manufacturers to launch smartwatches with the new SoCs. OPPO is expected to announce the Watch 3 next month, while Mobvoi is expected to launch a next-generation TicWatch flagship smartwatch in the fall.
If you’re waiting for the upcoming Samsung Galaxy Watch 5 series, the Google Pixel Watch, it may be a good idea to wait a few extra months before making up your mind on your next smartwatch. The new devices will almost certainly offer the performance improvements we’ve been waiting for, but we’ll have to take all of these devices for a spin before we can recommend them.
Which of the new smartwatch are you looking forward to the most? Let us know in the comments below!