Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100/5100+ should extend battery life

A major leak of WinFuture (in German) has revealed many details about the next generation of Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 5100 and 5100+ chips. The technology is expected to bring significantly improved performance and longer battery life to portable devices.

Two variants of the next-gen chip are planned according to the leak. Samsung is expected to manufacture these two nodes on 4nm nodes, so down from 12nm.

The first SoC is dubbed SW5100 and this one comes in a so-called “molded laser package” (MLP), in which the SoC and associated power management integrated circuit (PMIC) are separately located on a material support. The more powerful SW5100+ comes as a “molded integrated package” (MEP), with the SoC and PMIC housed in the same “package”. This variant features a more streamlined design and also supports an ultra-low-power deep sleep mode, thanks to the QCC5100 coprocessor.

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The WCC5100 has been around for a while now, but as an independent chip. It was mainly used in Bluetooth headphones because it offers an audio processor capable of actively canceling noise. The WCC5100 has its own GPU and display controller, allowing it to independently perform graphics on a smartwatch display. This is important for watches with always-on screens, as it can keep the screen alive while the main processor is sleeping. This all equates to energy efficient operation.

Both versions of the Snapdragon Wear 5100 will come with four ARM Cortex-A53 cores that can run at a maximum of 1.7 gigahertz. So no upgrades as these can be found in Wear 4100 and Wear 4100+ which were released around two years ago.

But the new chips will carry LPDDR4x RAM which is an upgrade, as well as eMMC 5.1 flash memory. Qualcomm would test variants with two and four gigabytes. Additionally, Qualcomm has switched the Adreno 504 into the current generation chip for an Adreno 720.

The 5100 and 5100+ chips come with an integrated image processor that supports two cameras, each with a maximum resolution of 13 and 16 megapixels. This allows them to record 1080p videos and supports video calling.

This is all still in the works, so the final specs could change by the time the first watches with the new chip hit the market. It’s not yet known when that will happen, but we don’t expect anything until at least this fall. May be later.

Hopefully the improved tech will significantly improve the battery life of WearOS watches, as this remains a sticking point. Coupled with the 3.0 version of Google’s operating system, we could soon get much improved devices. For now, WearOS watches will continue to rely on the 4100 architecture.

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