The market for “smart” watches is now stagnating: Apple Watch threatens only to increase in size, a smartwatch with Wear OS (this Android for similar gadgets) is interesting to a small group of people, and Samsung in August introduced Galaxy Watch, not unlike the previous generation of Gear S3 frontier. The new Qualcomm Wear 3100 processor, presented on September 10, was hoping to revive the market of portable electronics. Did this work?
State of the market now
At the moment, buyers are available four different versions of smartwatches: on Apple s different generations of processors, on Exynos, MediaTek and Qualcomm Wear 2100. The latter was introduced back in February 2016.
Such periodicity perfectly illustrates how the market develops in general: for 2.5 years, at least two generations of Qualcomm processors for smartphones of all price categories have been replaced.
But the periodicity is a secondary issue. Maybe Qualcomm Wear 3100 is doing well with performance?
The new processor uses four cores Cortex-A7. Their maximum frequency reaches 1.2 GHz. They have an Adreno 304 graphics accelerator and a Qualcomm X5 modem. And, looking at these characteristics, I want to ask a question: what’s new? These figures are identical to those presented 2,5 years ago 2100. Moreover, the processor was already outdated, because it was an old Qualcomm Snapdragon 400. It still had Microsoft Lumia 635 in 2014! Can you imagine how old we are trying to get Qualcomm in?
Maybe it’s in the new technical process? And we do not know! Qualcomm does not talk about the technical process. This is probably the same 28 nm.
So what’s new at 3100?
The processor received an NFC module and a QCC1110 coprocessor. And the last one was developed from scratch. It is necessary to perform tasks that do not require high energy costs. Thanks to him, new watches will be reduced power consumption. In comparison with 2100, this indicator will improve by 67% in the low-power mode. This is very important: according to Qualcomm, a user uses 90-95% of the time in the “simple hours” mode, which shows the time. In such a situation, a powerful (for a clock) processor is not needed at all.
Energy consumption is also reduced while the GPS is operating: by 49% compared to the previous generation. The indicator is also very important since nothing so does not plant the battery, as the included geopositioning.
The processor will learn how to work in three modes. Although Qualcomm has problems with positioning, so the “modes” call it is quite difficult.
Enhanced Ambient Mode is responsible for the smooth animation of the interface and the second hand. The second – Dedicated Sports Experiences – hints that the watch can be used in the mode of a sports tracker. The third is the Traditional Watch Mode, which is the same as the normal watch mode. In this mode, Wear OS is disabled, so there will be no notifications and activity traces.
The first clock with a new processor on Wear OS will be released in October. And they will be released by companies that do not deal with gadgets – Fossil Group and Louis Vuitton. But the very first will be Montblanc Summit 2. This watch is of little interest to those who know about the first generation of “Summit”: Mont Blanc did not say anything about the second version. They will be expensive and point.
In fact, processors for watches – the product is not paramount. Of course, in them the technical process is very important, that is, the size of the transistors of the “stone”. And if my guess is correct, then 28 nm is a failure for 3100 in terms of energy efficiency, but not the price.
Another important aspect of smart-clock work is the operating system. In March, Alphabet Inc. held a small rebranding, renaming Android Wear in Wear OS, and now, sort of, is developing a fitness application Coach. So now go to Google. But will the company be able to present the concept of the operating system of “smart” watches, interesting to consumers?