After two-plus years, Qualcomm has finally announced an update to their ageing Snapdragon Wear 2100. Qualcomm has been working closely with Google and the Wear OS team to create a chipset that is designed for the OS.
With the new Snapdragon Wear 3100, Wear OS is now able to support three different modes: an enhanced ambient mode, a dedicated sports experience, and a traditional watch mode.
Enhanced Ambient Mode
Instead of a low res black and white display in ambient mode, the new enhanced mode will now support a smooth second hand, live complications, better brightness, and up to 16 colors. This will allow the watch to look like a real watch even when in ambient mode while not sacrificing battery life. With the new processor, we can expect 4 to 12 hours of additional battery compared to the previous generation.
Dedicated Sports Experiences
The dedicated sports experience will allow swimmer and runners to be active for a long duration while having sensors like GPU and heart rate monitor turned on. Qualcomm has said that their chip is designed to deliver up to 15 hours of continuous use in this mode.
Traditional Watch Mode
This mode allows the user to use the basic watch functions for up to a week without having to charge the device. This will be great for people who are travelling and might not have access to a charger.
We won’t even need to wait that long to see these watches hit the market. Fossil Group, Louis Vuitton, and Montblanc all have announced that they will have some Wear OS watches with the Snapdragon 3100 by the 2018 holiday season. Montblanc even went a step further to officially announce their smartwatch, the Summit 2. We can expect it to be available in October for around $1000 (ouch).
If these new features sound exciting to you (they certainly are for me) I would say the Fossil Group is probably your best bet for a smartwatch that will be priced more reasonably. Hopefully, we will hear from them soon.
If you have been itching to get your hands on a new Wear OS watch, right now is not the right time. Even with the decent deals for the Huawei Watch 2 Classic or the newly announced Skagen Falster 2, I would not recommend buying either of those watches.
Why? Two things. One is the two year old Snapdragon 2100 that these watches are running on. Two, the release of the Snapdragon 3100 in just a couple of weeks away. Any savings you might get now is not worth the battery life and smoother experience a new processor may bring. Even though these theoretical improvements, I’ll bet you there will be additional price drops for existing watches running the 2100.
If you can hold off on getting a smartwatch (and I don’t see why anyone would absolutely need one). Now is the time to stick it out and wait a couple weeks. You never know, maybe you’ll end up with a rumored round Apple Watch instead.