A new wave ofwatches looks like it's coming with improved always-on features and some battery boosts, based on the latest news from Qualcomm. The chip company's newest wave of Snapdragon Wear 4100 Plus chips, announced Tuesday, promise extra features in always-on modes, including tracking sleep, heart rate and showing full fitness readouts. Chinese manufacturer Mobvoi's will be the first Google Wear OS watch with the new chip later this year. But there's a catch: These next-generation watches won't include 5G.
Meanwhile, theand . largely do the same. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because Qualcomm's last generation of also promised better battery life and introduced always-on modes: The always-on ambient displays worked, but battery gains were unimpressive.
The newer 4100 and 4100 Plus chips, making their way into watches starting this year, promise some performance gains and up to 25% better battery life. Only the upper-tier 4100 Plus chip, however, will have an always-on processor that allows the extra display animations and fitness readouts on new watches. The always-on added features include maps, heart rate, steps, sleep, GPS, more colors and animations, notifications and haptics support. Sports watches could last for 12 hours of GPS tracking in that ambient always-on sports mode.
Don't expect 5G, though. While these new watches will have enhanced 4G LTE connections that should work with less battery drain, Qualcomm isn't moving into 5G for watches yet, . Pankaj Kedia, Qualcomm's head of wearables, acknowledges interest in the idea, but right now it's not happening. It sounds like, right now, 5G performance on a wrist isn't feasible yet.
For now, the first watches using these new chips are being announced. No Fossil or other brands yet, but Mobvoi's next Wear OS watch, a variant of the, will get the 4100 Plus chip, Qualcomm announced. A kids' Android-based LTE-equipped watch with front and rear cameras, the Imoo Z6 Ultra, will get the 4100 chip. Prices for watches with these new processors are yet to be announced, but more Wear OS watch brands could announce updates later this year.
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