One thing that practically every modern Wear OS-based smartwatch has in common is its reliance on Qualcomm's Snapdragon Wear platform, which has always lagged behind the proprietary silicon Apple and Samsung have squeezed into their watches.
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With the newly-announced Snapdragon Wear 4100 and 4100+ however, it looks as though Qualcomm might finally be looking to help even the playing field.
Compared to 2018's Snapdragon Wear 3100 - which itself was only a mild improvement over 2016's Wear 2100 (adding a co-processor for improved ambient capabilities), Qualcomm claims that performance has been improved by 85%, while battery longevity is now 25% greater.
This comes in-part thanks to the fact that Qualcomm has been able to build the 4100 line on a smaller and more efficient 12nm process (the Wear 3100 uses a thicker 24nm process).
Add to this the capacity for more memory, more efficient 64-bit Cortex A53-based quad-core architecture, superior graphical performance and more up-to-date connectivity options across Bluetooth, WiFi and 4G LTE, and the 4100 seems like a far more significant generational upgrade over its predecessor.
The main difference between the standard and 'plus' version of the Wear 4100 is the addition of an enhanced AON (always-on) co-processor, which comes with its own partitioned memory and performance; similar in design to the QCC1110 which debuted on the 3100 but with some subtle tweaks.
This means a richer always-on user experience, with support for a wider colour gamut when using always-on watch faces, as well as more efficient constant heart-rate monitoring and step counting. Sleep tracking is now truly viable on Snapdragon Wear hardware too, as a result.
While the Wear 3100-powered Montblanc Summit 2+ was the first Wear OS watch to accommodate easy 4G setup and connectivity, the experience is said to be even more seamless and less power-hungry across the 4100 line.
We don't yet have a launch date for the first Snapdragon Wear 4100/4100+-powered smartwatches, however, manufacturers like Mobvoi have already confirmed that they have products in development using the hardware.
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