One such example is moving Bluetooth (5.3) into the coprocessor, which no longer needs to wake the main processor when you simply receive a notification alert from your smartphone. Qualcomm says this translates to 57 percent lower power consumption for notifications compared to the latest generation Wear 4100+ chip. Some always-enabled health features can also rely on the machine learning core of the coprocessor, such as activity recognition, sleep tracking, and fall detection, which means these features may not cost you as much battery life as before.
Only W5 + Gen 1 has a coprocessor; W5 Gen 1 omits this and is primarily intended to be used in watches for seniors and children, where you would like some of the primary features – like GPS – to be on at all times so you can check if your loved one managed it home on time.
These chips also have a modem that has all the radio frequency bands needed to work anywhere in the world. Most smartwatches with an LTE (or 5G) connection today will not connect universally in all countries, as the modem has limited band support, but that will not be the case here.
The big question is how well the W5 + Gen 1 will work with Google’s Wear OS operating system. Many Wear OS watches use Qualcomm’s processors, and the devices that carry the Wear 4100 chip have not yet received the latest version of Google’s Wear OS. There is some good news here. Qualcomm says it has partnered with Google to optimize Wear OS for its latest chip family, and Google confirmed that smartwatches with W5 + Gen 1 will only be launched with the very latest version of their software.
The first smartwatch to use the W5 Gen 1 will be from Chinese phone maker Oppo, which launches the Oppo Watch 3 in August. Device maker Mobvoi will release a new TicWatch running Google’s Wear OS powered by W5 + Gen 1 later this year. Qualcomm says there are more than 25 other designs on the way that use these chips from a variety of manufacturers.
Jitesh Ubrani, an analyst at International Data Corporation, says all eyes are on Qualcomm for this portable chip release. “When the 4100 was launched, Qualcomm faced an uphill battle and there were things that went against them because Wear OS was not ready. The latest version of Wear OS came out late last year, and some vendors kept adopting the latest processor because they could not get the latest version of the operating system to work on that chip. But Wear OS is ready for prime time now. ”
However, Apple still has a significant lead in the smartwatch area. In the first quarter of 2022, it was shipped more than 8.5 million units, with Samsung in second place with 3.2 million and Google in fifth place with 607,000. But competition is rising. Not only are new smartwatches on the way with Qualcomm’s chips, but Google is set to release a Pixel Watch later this year (especially powered by a Samsung processor), and Samsung is expected to announce a new Wear OS-powered Galaxy Watch in August .