Wear OS 3 has only been around for around a year, and it is already changing the smartwatch landscape. Earlier this week Qualcomm (opens in new tab) teased a new Snapdragon chip coming to new Wear OS watches. The 10-second video was strictly a teaser, but given that Qualcomm (opens in new tab) has previously stated that they would roll out new Snapdragon Wear platforms this year it would not be a shock for this video is teasing their next CPU — and that it could debut in the Google Pixel Watch.
The clock is ticking on something big. 👀⌚ pic.twitter.com/0bYaGf3SrFJuly 12, 2022
Qualcomm teased a fair amount last year regarding the future of their collaboration with Google’s WearOS. They seem to be primarily concerned with battery life, which has been one of our biggest complaints about the current crop of Wear OS smartwatches. At Qualcomm Wearable Summit 2021, Google’s Björn Kilburn said that Wear OS is on the path to finding success with lower-powered CPUs that would improve battery life. Since we have not seen any yet, this teaser from Qualcomm could be teasing those exact same "ultra-low-powered co-processors." The Google Pixel Watch would be the perfect flagship device to debut this new generation of Snapdragon Wear processors.
Snapdragon Wear: Smartwatches currently using Qualcomm CPUs
Currently, there are only a handful of smartwatches running on the latest Qualcomm Snapdragon processors. The Fossil Gen 6, Skagen Gen 6, the Montblanc Summit 3 and Mobvoi's TicWatch Pro 3 are all running on the Snapdragon 4100/4100+, but that is about it. There are also a handful of smartwatches running on the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chip. These includs the Fossil Gen 5 LTE, Xiaomi Mi Watch and the Suunto 7, which is one of the best running watches we have seen so far. Unfortunately, only the Snapdragon 4100/4100+ smartwatches will get an upgrade to the latest version of Wear OS.
Snapdragon Wear: Is the Google Pixel Watch next?
At the moment there is no concrete evidence suggesting what processor the Google Pixel Watch will use. However, a new Snapdragon Wear CPU would not be a surprise given Google and Qualcomm’s close collaboration on Wear OS. The rumored Snapdragon Wear 5100 — the same CPU potentially teased in Qualcomm’s tweet — is suggested to run on Samsung's 4-nm process (opens in new tab). Such an upgrade would allow for better battery life and more efficient performance, which Google would certainly want in its flagship wearable.
If the Google Pixel Watch does not use the rumored new Qualcomm CPU it would be tough to speculate what smartwatch would be the first to use it. The only other major (non-Apple) smartwatch rumored to be incoming is a potential Samsung Galaxy Watch 5. However, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 snubbed the Snapdragon Wear CPUs for an Exynos W920 chip, so there is nothing to suggest Samsung would use Qualcomm for its next smartwatch.