New chips from Qualcomm to bring more power to smartphones, smartwatches

March 27, 2016 New Launch News Smartwatch

Look at the inside of any smartwatch, whether running Android Wear or any alternative OS, and you will surely find one of the SnapDragon 400 series chips from Qualcomm powering the operation. The chip manufacturer’s strong hold on the processor segment of wearables is pretty thorough and is expected to stay that way with the announcement of Qualcomm’s new chip – the Snapdragon Wear 2100.

Qualcomm 2100

The biggest change with the new chip is how much smaller it is compared to its predecessor. According to Qualcomm, the Snapdragon Wear 2100 is 30 percent smaller than the 400 series chips and consumes 25 percent less power. This goes for both version of the Wear 2100 – a ‘connected’ version that comes with an LTE modem for all-in-one wearables such as the Gear S2 from Samsung, and a ‘tethered’ variant that supports 802.11n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.1 connectivity.

If you have been using wearables, then you are aware that the biggest pain point for smartwatches is the need to have them frequently recharged. With Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 2100, we soon should be able to say goodbye to always running to a wall outlet to have our smartwatches recharged.

Qualcomm’s announcement didn’t end there, though. Aside from the Snapdragon Wear 2100, the chip manufacturer also announced three new Snapdragon chips for smartphones – the 425, 435 and 625. Of the three, the 425 is the entry level chipset packing four Cortex-A53 cores and an Adreno 308 GPU. The 435 on the other hand is a pretty big leap having eight Cortex-A53 cores for a top clock speed of 1.4 GHz and a new Adreno 505 GPU that is ideal for 1080p/60FPS displays. Aside from that, the 435 also packs support for QuickCharge and LTE Cat 7 300Mbps down, 100Mbps up making it a potent chipset for low-cost smartphones in developing markets.

The 625 is clearly the top-tier chipset in the pack. Built on a 14nm processor, it packs eight Cortex-A53 cores that allow it to reach speeds in excess of 2.0 GHz. Furthermore, the 625 also has strong connectivity features as it supports 802.11ac Wi-Fi and LTE Cat 7. The only fly on the ointment is the Adreno 506 GPU on the 625 which means smartphone display resolutions top out at 1900 x 1200.