The upcoming Snapdragon Wear 5100 chip might not be the major upgrade we were hoping for
It’s hard to believe with Apple now being the dominant force in the wearable market, but Google and Qualcomm actually introduced their smartwatches earlier. Unfortunately, we all know how Wear OS (or back then, Android Wear) quickly got lapped by Apple’s and Samsung’s offers, regarding both hardware and software. While Google has given up on Wear OS as we know it and now partners with Samsung for upcoming versions, Qualcomm ist still basically the only manufacturer providing the underlying chipsets for smartwatches not made by Samsung. And according to an investigation conducted by WinFuture, we might soon be in for a brand-new chipset.
WinFuture reports that a new chipset with the model number “SW5100”, presumably the Snapdragon Wear 5100, will be the follow-up to the current Wear 4100+ which was first introduced in 2020 and is only slowly trickling into the latest smartwatches now. In contradiction with a leak from XDA, WinFuture claims that the currently tested samples rely on four Cortex A53 cores, not A73 cores, which would have had a significantly better performance.
Qualcomm is supposedly testing this new chipset in a variety of arrangements, including some with 1 to 2 GB of RAM and 8 to 16 GB of eMMC-based storage. A few variants even include support for up to two cameras, though that doesn’t necessarily mean we’ll get those in real-life products. Like its predecessors, the SW5100 should also have an ultra-low power processor meant for simpler tasks like showing the time and notifications along with tracking your fitness stats. However, this claim isn’t verified just yet.
WinFuture further reports that the new chipset will mostly be manufactured by Samsung, in addition to China’s SMIC. That could indicate that Qualcomm is looking to offer a lot more SW5100-equipped devices in the Chinese domestic market.
Compared to the Samsung Exynos W920 that powers most of the company’s current smartwatch lineup, the SW5100 could be in a difficult position. Qualcomm’s wearable processors have historically lacked the necessary oomph to offer truly stutter-free performance, something which Samsung’s latest product is much better at. With many details about the SW5100 still in the dark, especially regarding real-life performance and the manufacturing process, it’s entirely possible that it can match or outrank the Exynos W920, but history isn’t exactly on Qualcomm’s side here — even if the manufacturer is ramping up its investments in wearables.