Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon Wear 3300 may be the Wear OS smartwatch chip we’ve been waiting for
Google’s Android OS for smartwatches, Wear OS, isn’t nearly as successful as Android for smartphones, tablets, or televisions, and there’s a lot of blame to go around for that. We can blame Google for not having enough confidence to launch its own smartwatch hardware or for barely giving Wear OS the time of day at its big developer conference, or we can blame Qualcomm for failing to design a competitive smartwatch SoC. Smartwatches from Samsung, Huawei, and Apple, with their custom operating systems and SoCs, tend to have much better battery life than smartwatches with Wear OS and Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear 2100 or 3100. Qualcomm’s current wearable platforms are manufactured on a 28nm fabrication process; in comparison, Samsung’s Exynos 9110, found in the Galaxy Watch series, is manufactured on a 10nm fabrication process. Qualcomm may be bridging the gap with its next SoC for wearables, however, and it could come in the form of the Snapdragon Wear 3300.
We first heard about Qualcomm’s next wearable chipset back in July when WinFuture reported on the existence of two chipsets in a prototyping stage. It was believed that one of the chipsets could be marketed as the Snapdragon Wear 2700 and the other the Snapdragon 429 Wear, but the chipsets were still very early in development and there was no indication of when they would launch. Thanks to a tip from XDA Recognized Developer arter97, we know that Qualcomm is indeed preparing a chipset based on the mid-2018 Snapdragon 429 mobile platform, and it’ll likely be called the Snapdragon Wear 3300.
Over on the Code Aurora Forum, where Qualcomm uploads the Linux kernel source code for its various chipsets, a commit was uploaded that adds a device tree for a “SDW3300 device.” The device tree source (DTS) file that was uploaded is titled “sdw3300-bg-1gb-wtp.dts,” and the code indicates the new platform is based on the Snapdragon 429, code-named “Spyro.”
The Qualcomm Snapdragon 429 was introduced in mid-2018 as a 12nm chip with 4 ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores clocked at up to 1.95GHz. Qualcomm will likely pair these 4 CPU cores with a low-power co-processor, a PMIC, an integrated DSP, and other components to form the new Snapdragon Wear platform. The biggest problem with the Snapdragon Wear 3100 was that its main application processor was still the 4 ARM Cortex-A7 CPU cores fabricated on a 28nm process, so the new wearable SoC should be much more power-efficient and thus provide better battery life. Paired with 1GB of RAM, future Wear OS smartwatches will also perform better than ever.
Of course, this is still just a rumor at this point. Qualcomm has yet to officially confirm any details about its next wearable SoC. We reached out to Qualcomm for comment and will update this article if we hear back.