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Qualcomm's new smartwatch chips coming to Wear OS, starting with TicWatch Pro 3

Mobvoi's next TicWatch will be the first Wear OS watch with all the new extras, but 5G isn't part of the package.

Scott Stein Editor at Large
I started with CNET reviewing laptops in 2009. Now I explore wearable tech, VR/AR, tablets, gaming and future/emerging trends in our changing world. Other obsessions include magic, immersive theater, puzzles, board games, cooking, improv and the New York Jets. My background includes an MFA in theater which I apply to thinking about immersive experiences of the future.
Expertise VR and AR, gaming, metaverse technologies, wearable tech, tablets Credentials
  • Nearly 20 years writing about tech, and over a decade reviewing wearable tech, VR, and AR products and apps
Scott Stein
2 min read

The TicWatch Pro 3 will be the first Wear OS watch with the new chip.


A new wave of Google Wear OS watches 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 TicWatch Pro 3will 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, the Apple Watch is adding sleep tracking and already has always-on modesSamsung's smartwatches largely do the same. If any of this sounds familiar, it's because Qualcomm's last generation of Snapdragon Wear 3100 chips 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, despite the hype. 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 previous TicWatch Pro, 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.

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.