Qualcomm, for all in wearables with the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1

Although for some years it has given the impression that the wearables market was in a phase of absolute stagnation, 2021, with the announcement by Google of the new version of Wear OS and the collaboration with Samsung seems to have been the revulsive that the sector was waiting for to recharge. Thus, in about a year, we have been able to see how more and more manufacturers have decided to raise the stakes, in a move to celebrate.

And now, with Qualcomm’s announcement of its new Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 SoCsthe panorama is more promising than ever, since the technology points to an exceptional qualitative leap, with improvements in both performance and consumption, two key factors in any type of device, but given the especially small size of the wearables gains even more importance.

The short version of what the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and W5+ Gen 1 SoCs bring to the previous generation is that, according to Qualcomm, this new Snapdragon W5+ platform offers double the performance, reduces energy consumption by 50% plus, is reduced in size by 30%. Some numbers that are impressive, because it is not common to see such sharp jumps from one generation to the next, and that could put Apple’s supremacy in check with its Apple Watch, which will now have to face smartwatches with much higher performance.

Produced in the four nanometer scalethe Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 will be based on a design of Quad Core Cortex-A53 @ 1.7 Gigahertz accompanied by a Adreno A702 GPU and hardware support for artificial intelligence, with the integrated Qualcomm Hexagon DSP V66K and ARM Ethos-U55. With respect to the previous platform, the reduction in size that this evolution proposes does not lose elements, on the contrary, it adds new functions.

To offer such a huge qualitative leap, the chip is supported by the Qualcomm QCC5100, a coprocessor produced at the 22 nanometer scale and that will be responsible for managing a large part of the basic functions of the smartwatch. And what is achieved with this? Well, that the functions that must remain active when the user is not using the watch are managed by a very low consumption chip, and that also allows the integrated functions to be activated and deactivated on demand.

And how does this work? Smartwatches are known to spend most of their time in standby mode, so the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 platform spreads the work, making the high-performance quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU responsible for functions when the watch is in active use and is managed by Wear OS. For its part, all the work of the standby mode is delegated to the Qualcomm QCC5100, which is managed by FreeRTOSwhich always runs in the background.

Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1: technical specifications

Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1
CPUs 4x ARM Cortex A53 1.7 gigahertz
GPU GPU Name: Qualcomm Adreno A702 1 gigahertz
AI processor Qualcomm Hexagon DSP V66K
coprocessor Cortex M55 250 megahertz, 2.5D GPU, ARM Ethos-U55 (machine learning)
Memory LPDDR4 2,133 megahertz
Storage eMMC 4.5
connectivity LTE FDD, LTE TDD, WiFi 802.11n, bluetooth 5.3, NFC, geolocation and USB 2.0
Security Qualcomm Processor Security and Qualcomm Trusted Execution Environment (TEE) 4.0.5
Supported operating systems Wear OS, Android and Free RTOS

More information: Qualcomm

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