It seems that Wear OS market players are finally starting to come together to push the smartwatch market as a more coherent force. Google’s Wear OS 3 release might force smartwatch makers to finally upgrade their hardware to meet the software’s requirements, while component makers like Qualcomm and Samsung are stepping up their game to meet that upcoming demand. While it still has barely any users, Qualcomm might already be preparing the Snapdragon Wear 4100’s successor, at least based on the chip maker’s own source code.
Qualcomm’s wearable platform is still playing a game of catch-up at this point. Not only is every Snapdragon Wear chipset based on an older Snapdragon architecture, the Snapdragon Wear release cadence still hasn’t caught up with their smartphone cousin’s yearly pace. The next platform for smartwatches, however, might finally change that, presuming Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon Wear 5100 this year.
That name comes from XDA’s analysis of Qualcomm’s own code that refers to a “LAW.UM.2.0-00700-SW5100.0” build with the code name “monaco.” The “LAW” part refers to Linux Android Wear, Wear OS’ previous name, while the SW5100 could be the marketing name. It isn’t clear from the code whether the code is being built on top of Android 10 or Android 11, but that might not matter in the long run as long as it is compatible with Wear OS 3.
XDA also makes a few guesses about the chipset’s specs, like it being based on the 2020 Snapdragon 662 or 460 platforms. For comparison, the Snapdragon Wear 4100 last year was based on the 2018 Snapdragon 429, which means the Snapdragon Wear platform is finally starting to catch up. The biggest improvement, however, is the use of four performance Cortex-A73 cores rather than the low-power Cortex-A53 cores that the Snapdragon 4100 uses.
It remains to be seen if the 11nm Snapdragon Wear 5100 will outperform the upcoming 5nm Samsung Exynos W920 that is expected to debut in the Galaxy Watch 4 next week. It might seem like small steps forward, but for smartwatch aficionados, it could still mark a significant improvement in the Snapdragon Wear narrative.