A wise man once said, ‘the best fashionable wearables are those you’d still want to wear when the battery is dead’. If you don’t have a smart timepiece by Fossil, Louis Vuitton, Tag Heuer or Michael Kors (though), that delivers this in terms of aesthetics, you probably feel like you are depriving yourself. After all, it sometimes feels like these handsome wrist-watches don’t have a lot of reasons to stay on our wrist, especially when it comes to user experience, until now. It looks like Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 3100 might have the tech power to change all and hopefully move the smartwatch platform out of puberty.
From Huawei, LG, Sony and Samsung to the designer wrist candy from Armani, Hugo Boss, Movado or Tommy Hilfiger, the one thing all these watches have in common was that they gave proper investment in the fashionable aspects of the aesthetics. That being said, their downfall was that their timepieces lacked excellent and intuitive user experience. I think that the cause of this lies in what these watches carry under the hood. The funny thing was, some of the negative feedback from customers and tech reviews seemed to revolve around the fact that the ‘new’ smartwatches were always packed with pretty much the same old technologies (the Snapdragon 2100 chip) which were lacking when it came to improving any UX.
So let’s line up some of the improvements of the Snapdragon Wear 3100 without getting too much in depth about the newly compiled chip.
Snapdragon 3100 Longer Battery Life
Probably the biggest improvement is the longer battery life. Bragging some serious power management gains in Wi-Fi/Bluetooth voice queries, GPS batching, sensor processing, per minute/second clock updates, and MP3 playback. All leading up to an additional 4 – 12 hours of play-time compared to the previous Snapdragon Wear 2100. But I am sure that these features are depending on battery capacity, device configurations and display type. The new power plan of the 3100 platform includes a smarter approach when the watch is in idle mode too. I foresee this lower screen mode making it possible that you might end up using the watch for a good two days on one charge.
Qualcomm’s wearables leader Pankaj Kedia shared with the verge “The 95 % of the time when you’re not actually interacting with [your watch], you are in ambient mode or always-sensing mode,” he continues “So the co-processor, that’s where you are 95 % of the time … we are doing less and fewer things in the main processor.”
Qualcomm’s aim is to redefine the system architecture of the Snapdragon Wear 3100 Platform by giving its users the battery life of sports watches with the richness of a smartwatch. So let’s look at some utilities.
Snapdragon 3100 Better Personalised Experiences.
The ‘Enhanced Ambient Mode’ “helps the smartwatch to meet consumer desires for a fashion watch by supporting a smooth second hand, up to 16 colours, live complications and improved brightness.” Then there is the more ‘Dedicated Sports Experience’ by a design that allows active users to go for an ultra-marathon, swim long distances, bike for miles, or hike the mountains with GPS and heart rate turned on for the duration. Moving on to the ‘Traditional Watch Mode’. Great for travelling, this mode bolsters an excellent week-long battery life to the timepiece by switching to this mode from the Wear OS by Google experience and is designed to allow consumers to enjoy essential watch functions for an extended period.
On the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform, engineers will now be able to do their own coding. In the past former Qualcomm platforms, hardware companies had to rely on algorithms given by Qualcomm to communicate with the different sensors on the device like the heart-rate sensor. In the case of sports watchmakers, this could give them the ability to design a more solid experience in this area.
The first companies to roll out their pieces will be Fossil, Louis Vuitton and Mont Blanc. The latter should release their smartwatch this October 2018. In all honesty, this update has been a long wait. So much so that I hope that it lives up to its promises, because only then will it be worth it.