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Your next smartwatch may look better and last longer, thanks to Qualcomm’s new chips

Fossil Q Founder smartwatch
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends
Qualcomm is well-known to be the standard processor supplier for most smartwatches, particularly Android Wear devices. At this point, Android Wear smartwatches typically use a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor. However, the Snapdragon 400 was intended for smartphones — not wearables. As such, Qualcomm finally announced a new chip that’s specifically made for wearables.

The Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor allows for “always-on connectivity” and low-power usage, which means your next smartwatch could last longer on a single charge. It’s also 30 percent smaller, so you could soon strap a smartwatch on your wrist that’s a little lighter and less bulky as well.

The processor comes in two variants: Both have the familiar low-power Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections, but one also has a “next-generation LTE modem,” that will let you leave your smartphone behind and still be able to answer calls, send messages, stream music, and more on your smartwatch via 4G LTE and 3G data. Any Android Wear watch with this chip onboard would be a standalone device with independent functions that doesn’t need to be tied to your phone.

Image used with permission by copyright holder

The processor supports a maximum screen resolution of 640 x 480p at 60 frames-per-second, which indicates that smartwatches may become more high resolution in the future, too. It continues support for Bluetooth Low Energy, Bluetooth 4.1, Qualcomm Quick Charge 2.0, and more. For a full spec list, go here.

Qualcomm says the new “Snapdragon Wear platform” is not only suited for smartwatches, but for trackers, sports watches, connected headsets, and more. The chip maker says “numerous wearables” are already in development with this new processor powering them. While the chip supports Android Wear, it also supports the Android operating system, though it’s unlikely you’ll be seeing this chip in a smartphone.

LG teamed up with Qualcomm for the announcement of the Snapdragon Wear 2100, and David Yoon, vice president of Wearables at LG, took the time to say that the company will be using the processor in its upcoming smartwatches.

“We are delighted about Qualcomm Technologies’ next generation wearable plans, are planning to extend our collaboration with the new Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 2100 processor, and look forward to launching new smartwatches and other wearable devices that bring new and innovative use cases to consumers later this year,” he said in the blog post announcement.

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Julian Chokkattu
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Julian is the mobile and wearables editor at Digital Trends, covering smartphones, fitness trackers, smartwatches, and more…
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