Qualcomm’s new W5 chips could bring better battery life to smart watches and glasses – CNET | Hot Mobile Press

Qualcomm’s upcoming new next-generation wearable chip platform called the Snapdragon W5promises battery gains to come Google Wear operating system watches. On paper, the chips promise stronger processing speeds and longer battery life, and they could allow smartwatches to do more things in a low-power, always-on mode.

The 4nm system’s chipset, which is smaller than before, could also lead to smaller watch designs. But it could also be an indication of where a new wave of smart glasses and other wearables is headed. The new chips appear to have better battery life, higher performance, global LTE support, and can work with multiple cameras for more advanced image recognition processing and video chat support. This could be a clear arrow towards future successors to devices like Meta Ray-Ban Stories Glasses aim next.

A look inside a watch with Qualcomm's new chips, with the layers splitting

Qualcomm’s latest watch chipset is said to increase battery life. It also adds more low-power always-on features.

Qualcomm

Watches: Longer battery life at last?

Qualcomm has made these promises before: the Snapdragon 3100 The chip seemed to solve battery life issues, but Google Wear OS-compatible watches still tended to average a day or two of battery at best.

This time, however, the chip could mean watches that last 43 hours instead of 28 with a 300mAh battery, or up to 72 hours with a 600mAh battery. These numbers suggest two to three days of use, which might not sound like a big change. But if it’s true two to three days of wear, that could mean a day’s worry-free charging, which the most popular smartwatches aren’t good at.

A day without charging would mean a night when the watch could be worn to track sleep. Sleep tracking features have become increasingly important in watches all over the world Samsung Galaxy Watch 4 and the Apple watchand Fitbit’s sleep-tracking-focused metrics might do so play a major role to what is to come Google pixel watch. We still don’t know what chips Samsung’s next watch or the Pixel Watch will have. Qualcomm’s new chipset has already been confirmed for a couple of upcoming watches: one from Oppo and the next TicWatch from Mobvoi. It certainly sounds like Qualcomm’s new chips on an Android watch might be worth waiting for if the battery gains are as good as advertised.

Apple could go a similar route. The company expects: a step up clock Model this fall that could be more robust and have better battery life. WatchOS 9 adds deeper sleep tracking capabilities, possibly suggesting that the next few watches could more easily skip a night’s charging.

The longer battery life means the watches can do more in a lower powered “ambient” state, which could be used to limit certain watch functions. W5-powered watches could receive notifications, use Bluetooth, stream audio, and track health metrics including heart rate while in a power-saving mode. The audio and health features in particular could end up being used by products that aren’t watches at all.

Wristcam camera watch

Wristcam, a camera-equipped Apple Watch accessory. Could more Wear OS watches come with built-in cameras?

Mike Sorrentino/CNET

Watches with cameras: For video calling or scanning QR codes and tickets

Qualcomm’s new chips improve camera-enabled features, supporting 16-megapixel camera ISPs and video calling. Previous Qualcomm watch chips also had a version of this feature. Qualcomm’s first reference design models of its W5 chip watch and models coming this year are unlikely to have cameras on board just yet, but cameras would make sense for a variety of reasons. Aside from being able to snap photos or video chat on your wrist (which I’ve found isn’t all that useful), the cameras could potentially be used to scan tickets or QR codes to enable NFC and mobile payments complement to speed up how clocks might check in events or interact with the world.

Qualcomm is pushing the idea of ​​more advanced machine learning for image recognition on these watches, perhaps in a similar way to how phones increasingly recognize text or objects with cameras. Could there be a supporting use for such features in the future? Most likely. For example, couriers could use watches to scan packages or take photos of delivered items, just as tablets and phones are currently used.

Could this also mean smaller children’s watches?

Battery life isn’t the only benefit of these new chips: Qualcomm sees the smaller chip design as a doorway to smaller, thinner watches, particularly those sized 38mm and maybe even smaller. That could mean a wave of new watch designs, but it could also mean watches choosing a slimmer design over longer battery life, with smaller batteries on board.

Pankaj Kedia, Qualcomm’s head of wearables, told CNET that interest in phone-enabled, camera-connected watches for kids is a trend. These new chips could also aim to fold more of these connected features into designs suitable for kids (or anyone else).

Facebook Ray-Ban Stories 2021

Last year’s Ray-Ban Stories glasses were camera compatible. Could there be progress?

Scott Stein/CNET

Smart Glasses: A Hint of a New Wave?

Meta’s first generation Ray-Ban Stories Glasses use Qualcomm’s 4100 line of watch chips, Qualcomm’s Kedia confirmed to CNET. For smaller wearables on the eyes or anywhere on the body, these W5-series chips might end up being a better fit than Qualcomm’s older and larger XR1 and XR2 AR VR chips.

That’s the part that intrigues me the most: could the W5 herald a wave of wearables that live between the wrist and the head, or combinations of the two? Meta has already been discussed bracelet the next wave of VR/AR headset interaction. Could chips like the W5 enable clocks and headsets and more advanced glassesto start interacting and interlocking? And could Meta’s next glasses use those chips too?

Confirming that there are many options, Kedia says of Meta’s Ray-Ban glasses: “The reason they use them is because size and battery life are important.” Kedia hints that the trend will continue. “Now, with this platform, we have greatly improved the camera experience, modem experience, power consumption and size. Expect more customers, different customer types, different form factors to use this platform.”

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