Qualcomm is launching a new wearable platform and has started an initiative to promote a new generation of wearables.
The new platform – yet unnamed and with scant details – is designed to be used by a wider selection of devices than the current Qualcomm Snapdragon range, which has mainly been used on Wear OS smartwatches.
Qualcomm says it’s looking at kids smartwatches, wearables for seniors, pet trackers and hands-free wearables for enterprise, as well as the next generation of smartwatches.
The platform will follow on from the Qualcomm 4100, 4100+ and 1300, which is used for Linux and RTOS wearable devices.
While there’s no name or details, Qualcomm said it was building this processor platform “from the ground up”, with an SoC for high performance and a co-processor for always-on use cases. Both are designed to be light on power for longer battery life.
The company has also launched the Qualcomm Ecosystem Accelerator, which it will use to help hook up different OS, platforms and hardware suppliers to help bring devices to market.
And it’s signed up a big range of familiar brands, including Fossil, Timex, ZTE, Louis Vuitton, Oppo and Montblanc as members.
But what about Qualcomm and Wear OS devices? While the company has talked widely about 21% year-on-year growth in wearables, Wear OS devices only accounted for 3% of the smartwatch market in 2020.
With a new version about to land, we asked Pankaj Kedia, global business head, of smart wearables at Qualcomm, whether the company was disappointed in the sales of Wear OS devices:
“Google has upped their focus with their partnership with Samsung, and acquiring Fitbit. Those are footprints in the sand, and give an indication that Google is hungry," he said.
“They are committed, they are investing. Qualcomm is Google's top partner when it comes to Android. And I will just say, you know, stay tuned for more proof points of our collaboration.”
And it seems that collaboration won’t be too far away: we’ve seen rumors of a new Oppo Watch 2, which is set to run a Qualcomm 4100. Watch this space.