Qualcomm Unveils Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 Chips for Wearable Devices

Last week, Qualcomm shared a subtle teaser hinting at a new chip for Wear OS smartwatches. Today, the company officially announced the new Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 chipset and Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 wearable devices. Qualcomm claims its latest SoCs for next-generation wearables focus on extending battery life, improving performance, reducing footprint, and delivering more features.

Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1: Specifications

Customize Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1
general engineering 4 nm
CPU 4x Arm Cortex-A53 + 1x Arm Cortex-M55 @ 250MHz
Show Adreno 702 @ 1GHz + 2.5D GPU
RAM 1x 16GB LPDDR4 @ 2133MHz
machine learning Arm Ethos-U55
  • Modem/RFFE: Rel 13 w/Cat 1bis, E911 w/z-axis
  • GNSS System: L1 + L5, PDR4.5
  • Camera: Dual ISP, EIS 3.0
  • Bluetooth: 5.3, QHS
  • Integrated Speaker PA: 1W @ 13 Ohm Calls D

Speaking about the new chipsets, Pankaj Kedia, Global Head of Business for Qualcomm’s Wearable and Shareable Devices segments, said, The wearables industry continues to grow and provide opportunities across multiple sectors at an unprecedented pace. The new wearable platforms – Snapdragon W5+ and Snapdragon W5 – represent our most advanced leap yet. Designed for the next generation of wearables, these platforms meet the needs of the most demanding consumer with ultra-low power delivery, amazing performance, and highly integrated packaging. In addition, we are expanding our proven hybrid architecture with new low-power innovations such as deep sleep and hibernation states that delight consumers with excellent user experiences while extending battery life.”

Chart of Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 4100+ vs Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 comparison table.

The new Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 SoC for wearables is built on the 4nm manufacturing process, which is a huge leap forward compared to the 12nm process used in the Snapdragon Wear 4100+. The chip also has an always-on 22nm coprocessor, which is likely to be more power efficient than the always-on 28nm coprocessor found in the older chip. Thanks to this new architecture, Qualcomm claims the Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 delivers 50% longer battery life and two times higher performance than Snapdragon Wear 4100+ with 30% smaller footprint.

Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 architecture.

Furthermore, the Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 includes a new Bluetooth 5.3 Ultra Low Energy architecture, low energy islands for Wi-Fi, GNSS, audio, and low power states such as Deep Sleep and Hibernate. but that is not all. Qualcomm claims that the new chip can unlock a range of new interactive experiences such as 3D faces, 3D maps and navigation, real-time image recognition, two-way smart calls, smart device controls, and more. The company also adds that the chip is also capable of handling new ultra-low-power ambient experiences, such as keyword detection, low-power notifications, always-optimized display functionality, etc.

Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 architecture.

As far as the initial specs are concerned, the Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 has four Arm Cortex-A53 cores paired with a Cortex-M55 core for AI/ML tasks. While we would have liked Qualcomm to offer Cortex-A55 or Cortex-A510 cores on the new chip for better performance and power efficiency, we think the updated architecture should give the Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 a significant advantage over the Snapdragon Wear 4100+, although Verify that both chips contain Cortex-A53 cores. For graphics-intensive tasks, the Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 features an Adreno 702 GPU clocked at 1GHz. It’s also a huge improvement over the 320MHz Adreno 504 GPU found in the Snapdragon Wear 4100+.

At the moment, Qualcomm has not shared any details about the regular Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 chip. Based on the differences between the Snapdragon Wear 4100 and the Snapdragon Wear 4100+, we suspect that the regular variant could be essentially the same chipset without the two features. For example, Qualcomm offered a coprocessor on the Snapdragon Wear 4100+, but the regular model didn’t get one.

Oppo and Mobvoi will be the first OEMs to use the new chipsets

Qualcomm also revealed that Oppo and Mobvoi will be the first manufacturers to offer the Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 on the next generation of smartwatches. The regular version will see its way to the market with the Oppo Watch 3 series next month, while Mobvoi will use the Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 in the next-generation TicWatch slated for release this fall.

Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Plus Gen 1 reference designs from Compal and Pegatron.

Qualcomm also announced two reference designs from Compal and Pegatron to showcase the capabilities of the new platform. OEMs will be able to use these designs to develop their own products that feature the latest chipsets.

What do you think of Qualcomm’s new chipset for wearables? Do you think the updated architecture can address battery issues in Wear OS smartwatches? Let us know in the comments section below.

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