Qualcomm's new W5 and W5+ wearable platforms boost performance and battery life

Next generation Wear OS smartwatches and wearables are about to get a big upgrade.
Written by Jason Cipriani, Contributing Writer
A smartwatch taken apart to show the components inside
Image: Qualcomm

Qualcomm's latest chips for wearables promise longer battery life, better performance, and other enhancements. On Tuesday, Qualcomm officially unveiled the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1 wearable platforms. 

The two platforms are designed for wearables, with each one promising up to 50% more battery life and two-times the performance of the 4100+ platform -- all in a smaller, 4nm design. 

The W5+ is specifically designed for the smartwatch segment, while the W5 is meant for more specialized wearables such as smartwatches for kids, seniors, or the enterprise segment. 

The W5+ chip includes low-power Bluetooth 5.3 connectivity, and low-power solutions for Wi-Fi, GNS and audio, and low-power states called Deep Sleep and Hibernate. 

Here's a chart from Qualcomm breaking down the key differences between the previous 4100+ platform and the new W5+ platform:

A chart comparing the last gen of snapdragon with the new snapdragon 5 gen improvements
Image: Qualcomm

Of course, these chips are going to be what powers the next generation of hardware that's designed to run Wear OS by Google, the wearable operating system that has seen an uptick in interest after Google and Samsung revamped the OS for the Galaxy Watch 4 lineup. 

With a more powerful processor, presumably, Google and its many hardware partners will have the ability to get more out of Wear OS as a whole. 

In fact, Qualcomm claims there are already 25 designs being worked on by different hardware makers that will use the W5 or W5+. There are new reference designs from Compal and Pegatron, while Oppo and Mobvoi have both committed to being the first to release hardware using the W5 and the W5+, respectively. 

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