Skip to main content

Qualcomm’s newest smartwatch chips are made just for kids

Karlis Dambrans/Flickr

Android-based smartwatches may not be the fastest growing industry in the world, but Qualcomm reckons there’s still legs on that crowd. That’s why Qualcomm’s first new smartwatch chip in two years is geared toward a very specific market: Smartwatches for children, which run a custom Android interface.

The new chip, the Snapdragon Wear 2500, promises to be more battery efficient than previous chips, supports LTE, location tracking, and cameras up to 5-megapixels, as well as a bunch of other sensors. According to an interview, the Wear 2500 will also be about a third smaller than previous chips too — size being exceptionally important in a child’s watch.

The Verge

Interestingly, the chips are not made to work with Google’s Wear OS — instead, they’ll be running a customized Android interface called Android for Kids that probably won’t have access to the usual array of Android apps. Instead, Qualcomm will preload the watches with all the apps that they expect will be needed by kids (and the adults who supervise them). There’s an emphasis on learning too, and Pankaj Kedia, leader of Qualcomm’s wearable department, intends these watches to complement the more connected lives that children lead today.

“It’s like you grew up on Alexa and you want to take Alexa with you,” Kedia said to The Verge. “You want to ask Alexa ‘what’s the capital of the U.S.’ or ‘who is the 35th president of the U.S.?’ or learn a different language, and voice assistants are making it easy for you to do that. Literally, kids in that bracket are using kid watches to learn.” These watches will presumably facilitate that need, and help parents to keep an eye on their kids at the same time.

The smartwatch market is still a fairly volatile place, and while Apple reigns supreme at the top of the charts with the Apple Watch Series 3, 2017 saw a lot of well-established names drop out of the race in favor of new kids on the block. So while the overall market for wearables continues to grow, it’s new directions and manufacturers that are being rewarded for their hard work. With this in mind, it’s not hard to see why Qualcomm chose to go this way.

Interested this new breed of smartwatch? Qualcomm is already sending the chips out to manufacturers, and expect to see watches with it come out later this year, with Huawei being named as one of the companies involved.

Editors' Recommendations

Mark Jansen
Mark Jansen is an avid follower of everything that beeps, bloops, or makes pretty lights. He has a degree in Ancient &…
Qualcomm’s Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 chip might actually save Android smartwatches
The Mobvoi TicWatch 3 Pro on someone's wrist.

Qualcomm has a new wearable chip for smartwatches. Actually, there are two of them. They're the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and W5+ Gen 1, and Qualcomm thinks they're the next big revolution in smartwatch chipsets.

Stop me if you've heard this one before. The Snapdragon Wear 3100 from 2018 was also supposed to supercharge Wear OS watches and take them to the next level. But beyond some fairly modest battery improvements, performance on the Wear 3100 left a lot to be desired. And 2020's Wear 4100 and Wear 4100+ chips weren't much better. Qualcomm again made some battery improvements and performance gains, but seldom few smartwatches actually adopted the 4100 platform. A handful of watches from Mobvoi and Fossil use a 4100-series chip, and that's about it. Samsung's Galaxy Watch lineup is using Exynos chips, and rumors even suggest Google's Pixel Watch will do the same.

Read more
I used a phone with a two-year-old Qualcomm chip, and it blew me away
Injustice 2 on the poco F4 5G

Over the past couple of years, Qualcomm has adopted a novel strategy of selling old flagship chips for smartphones under a new name. Apple did something similar with the Apple Watch Series 7, arming it with the S7 processor, which is essentially a repackaged version of the S6 silicon inside the Apple Watch Series 6. And, if rumors are to be believed, Apple's bringing that strategy to the iPhone this year with the iPhone 14 and 14 Max.

On paper, it sounds like just another tactic by brands to ship old -- and more affordable -- hardware into a new device. It really stings, especially when the “next-generation” device comes at a price premium while a component as fundamental as the processor remains unchanged. Apple can be bashed for engaging in such behavior, but in Qualcomm’s case, the reverse has happened.

Read more
Montblanc’s newest smartwatch has Wear OS 3 and costs nearly $1,300
montblanc summit 3 smartwatch wear os launch price mont blanc

German luxury brand Montblanc has added a new smartwatch to its portfolio, the Summit 3, targeted at a deep-pocket audience that can shell out $1,300 for one of its timepieces. But what’s truly remarkable about the smartwatch, aside from its eye-watering price tag, is that it runs Wear OS 3 — the latest (and inexplicably delayed) version of Google’s reworked smartwatch operating system.

Wear OS 3 was officially revealed over a year ago, but so far, it has remained exclusive to the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and its pricier Classic sibling. The upcoming Pixel Watch will run the latest software update, and Google has confirmed that Wear OS 3 will also land on Fossil Group smartwatches such as the Fossil Gen 6, Michael Kors Gen 6, and Skagen Falster Gen 6. Wear OS 3 is also confirmed for the TicWatch Pro 3 and E3 from Mobvoi.

Read more