Snapdragon W5+: Qualcomm chip promises to “turbine” its next smartwatch

Qualcomm announced Snapdragon W5+ to equip next generation of smartwatches; novelty brings more performance and less consumption

We’ve always associated the Snapdragon brand with cell phones, but Qualcomm develops processors for various types of gadgets. Here’s a recent proof: this Tuesday (19), the company announced the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 chips . Both will equip smartwatches and other wearables.

The name makes it clear that the Snapdragon W5+ is technically superior to the Snapdragon W5. There is a simple and somewhat obvious reason for this division. The W5+ is targeted at advanced wearables such as premium smartwatches; the W5, to simpler devices.

Both arrive with the proposal to improve the user experience with wearable devices — especially those based on Wear OS 3 — as well as optimizing their energy consumption.

According to Qualcomm, the new chip allows the device’s battery to have 50% longer life and double the performance compared to the previous generation Snapdragon Wear 4100+.

These differences are even more impressive when you consider that the W5+ is 30% smaller (physically) than the 4100+.

Hybrid architecture (CPU and coprocessor)

Like the previous generation, the Snapdragon W5+ and W5 chips have a hybrid architecture, which complements the CPU with an always-on coprocessor.

Both components are based on new manufacturing processes. The Snapdragon W5+ swaps the previous generation’s 12nm CPU for a 4nm. The coprocessor goes from 28 to 22 nanometers.

Think of the coprocessor as a secondary CPU, which takes on simpler tasks to make the device as a whole save power without sacrificing performance.

To give you an idea, the coprocessor of the Snapdragon W5+ (Cortex M55) can handle sleep and heart rate monitoring tasks, for example.

This is the combination of features that makes the Snapdragon W5+ more energy efficient and at the same time more performant. It is therefore to be expected that Qualcomm’s new platform will help Wear OS 3 take off in the market.

Oppo and Mobvoi have already promised to launch watches based on the new chips. The first will make its debut in August, with the Oppo Watch 3. It is a smartwatch to be equipped with the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1, a chip that has not yet had its specifications revealed by Qualcomm.

Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 — data sheet

  • CPU : four 1.7GHz Cortex-A53 cores
  • Coprocessador: Cortex-M55 de 250 MHz
  • GPU: Adreno A702 de 1 GHz
  • Memory : 2133 MHz LPDDR4 support
  • Storage : support eMMC 4.5 modules
  • Connectivity : support Wi-Fi 802.11n, Bluetooth 5.3 (low power), LTE, Beidou, Galileo, Glonass, GPS, USB 2.0
  • Others : Spectra image signal processor, Hexagon V66K digital signal processor for artificial intelligence
  • Operating Systems : Support Wear OS, Android, Free RTOS
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