back to article It's here! Qualcomm's new watch chip is finally here! Oh, uh, never mind

Loyal Android Wear users are dismayed that the first new Qualcomm silicon for smartwatches in three years uses ancient technology – and won't offer the gains in performance they were hoping for. Qualcomm has launched its Snapdragon 3100 system on a chip for smartwatches, the first platform update since the 2100 in early 2016. …

  1. AMBxx Silver badge

    Nobody cares

    Android watch wear whatever is a horrid mess. It's the Windows Phone of watches. Should be taken round the back and shot.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Nobody cares

      It seems to me that every attempt to shoehorn a full UI into a watch is the Windows Phone of watches. Apple may sell a lot but it still seems to be a product with very little functionality per dollar, and unlike those mechanical watches, nobody is going to be handing it down to their children.

      1. Alien8n Silver badge

        Re: Nobody cares

        @Voyna I Mor

        Not strictly true, my old Apple Watch was given to my daughter when I upgraded mine.

        Reason I have one? I find it useful to get notifications on the watch while the phone is in my pocket and I get around 3 days use between charges. Not too bad considering. Very useful when doing the weekend job wandering around a festival for 3 days and unable to hear the alarm on the phone going off telling me I need to be somewhere in 5 minutes.

    2. Daniel von Asmuth Bronze badge

      Re: Nobody cares

      All I want for Christmas is a watch so fast that it runs 25 hours in just one day.

  2. UberMunchkin

    I do not know a single other technical person who has a smart watch, I don't have one and have no plans to buy one, none of my technical friends do either. In fact the only people I know who have a smart watch are my brother (a chef) and a couple of people who work in sales.

    I stopped wearing a watch around about 1998 when I got my first mobile phone. Since then the number of things that have a clock on them has only gone up. Everything else I can do better on my phone.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      OK, so how many of you and your friends exercise? Looking around here, at friends and family and colleagues, the more active life style the more likely they are to have a smart watch.

      1. Warm Braw Silver badge

        How many of you and your friends exercise?

        I realise I'm a data point of exactly one - and not, as far as I know, a friend of the original poster, but I exercise and don't have any kind of fad-device, in much the same way as I've exercised for the last 50-odd years. I can exercise perfectly well without knowing my exact heart rate, having an inaccurate assessment of the number of steps I might have taken or needing to plot my run or ride on a map.

        Having a "fitness" device seems to serve the same "need" as taking pictures of your lunch...

      2. Captain Scarlet Silver badge

        OK, so how many of you and your friends exercise?

        Most in January for a maximum of 3 weeks followed by the how do I cancel this stupid gym membership.

        Most with their over priced "smart" watches disappear around the same time and return to their former time keeping device.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'm technical, and I had a smartwatch - a Pebble, until it broke and the company shut down so I couldn't replace it.

      I used it for two basic functions - receiving notifications for email, text & Whatsapp, and controlling the music playing on my phone.

      It is useful just to see what is that notification buzz on the phone without having to get it out of my pocket. For that alone it was worth to me whatever a Pebble cost. It is no way a life changing essential item, and it was not at all for doing things on, but if you have disposable income there are worse things to spend it on.

      I did briefly try a more powerful Sony smartwatch and sent it back.

      The Pebble was powerful enough to do those things with a battery that would last about a week.

      I don't need pointless "activity tracking". I don't need a full Linux/Android computer on my wrist that wont last a full day, or weekend and is huge and ugly.

      I think it is a shame there is now no manufacturer that starts with the premise that a watch should be small, and attractive, and the battery should last at least long enough that you can go away for a few days without having to take a charger, and needs only to be powerful enough to receive and display notifications from your phone via bluetooth.

      No need for it to make calls, or have GPS, or record my heart rate.

      I also exercise. And I have been quite able to do so for years before there was any such thing as a fitness tracker. The only useful fitness trackers are a watch and weighing scales.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Some of the new Citizen watches look attractive enough - not as 'sporty chronograph' as their predecessors. Having only hands and dials it can alert you to a notification but not display message contents. Battery life is indefinite in the Eco-drive models. Similar capabilities from Casio, around 18 months between battery changes. Their not particular small - though even finding normal watches at a sensible 38mm is quite hard these days.

      2. werdsmith Silver badge

        I'm technical, and I had a smartwatch - a Pebble, until it broke and the company shut down so I couldn't replace it.

        You can replace it, from Ebay. I sold 2 of mine on there last month. has kept the Pebbles alive. Unfortunately iOS 11 is unreliable with them but they will work with shitdroid.

        The real replacement is Amazfit Bip lite. It's just like a Pebble clone but better, includes a GPS and heart monitor and costs one third of the price. I bought one direct from China for £37 and it works with the Mi Fit app. It feels like what Pebble would have become if they continued - in everything except price.

    3. goldcd


      I wear a watch and always will.

      However the Omega is back in its box (complete PoS that kept breaking and culminated in a swatch service centre gouging me a load, returning it in a f'in jiffy bag (box and warranty card missing) AND STILL BEING BROKEN)


      Liked Pebble, until that died. Tried a Moto360 which was fine, until it didn't last all day.

      I'm currently sporting a citizen eco-drive (procured from Argos no less) that:

      1) Looks nice (to my eyes at least)

      2) Runs off the sun (no winding, shaking or batteries)

      3) Keeps rather excellent time.

  3. Ali Dodd

    Smartwatch owner and user.

    I have a Wear 2.0 watch and I love it. Battery life is the main bugbear but more performance would be good, however it's still great. It keeps me informed of all communications, I use it to control smart home tech, I use it for fitness tracking, I use it for 2fa login push and code, I use it for appointments, the list does go on.

    Fundamentally it is an extension of my watch but it also keeps that in my pocket and means I can seamlessly deal with things quickly without staring at a slab.

    No it's not essential but it is bloody useful. Too many of these articles are written from the perspective of people who have dismissed the technology already or don't actually use it and most of the responses are the same. The touchscreen phone was dismissed for ages as a minor sideline for years until it was successful...

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I wonder...?

    If the 'event' planned by Apple for tomorrow where a new watch is expected has made QC bring forward this announcement?

    Not interested in any watch or even a new phone but sitting on the sidelines and watching all these other companies running around trying to second guess what Apple is going to do is quite entertaining.

    From the article, it seems that QC may have missed the boat with this release. PErhaps treading water and hoping for a huge payout from Apple perhaps?

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: I wonder...?

      Hoping for a "huge payout from Apple" for what?


    WHY such a clueless article...

    ok why el reg is this full of marketing puff

    first of all no one cares what nm process they are using... they care about if the process or layout gives efficiency (power in this case)

    secondly WearOS and arguably Android do NOT run a JVM... thats pretty basic knowledge

    Thirdly GPS does not need a huge power envelope it does when you bolt it on as a afterthought... the fact that the NEW Qualcomm 3100 does not include QZSS means they didn't think...

    just because Qualcomm didnt think that anyone would like a EKG or anything useful doesnt mean you should follow the reddit crowd... please some useful reporting please

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    GPS on any platform

    "Intensive use of GPS depletes a battery rapidly on any platform."

    This is really just a phone problem: based on experience with my ancient Mk1 Garmin etrex, I suspect that much of the power drain is due to downloading maps, LED colour displays and having to run a JVM-based system. Users of modern etrex models report up to 43 hours continuous use when power-saving is employed. Runs on a couple of easily replaceable AA batteries; carrying a few pairs of spares isn't much of an issue.

    GPS on the phone does have it's place though - in the city. Pure GPS is poor in cities because the buildings block much of the sky, and especially, the horizons, which give you better accuracy (if you can only see a few GPS sats more or less directly above you, you won't get very good triangulation). Here though, the phone can use cell localisation techniques.

    1. DougS Silver badge

      Re: GPS on any platform

      No, just using GPS to get your position is rather power intensive. No map download required. The main reason is because use of GPS prevents the SoC from entering lower power sleep states.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Battery life depends upon battery capacity - Really?

    Qualcomm claimed "typical battery life day of use improvements ranging from four to 12 hours compared to the previous Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform, depending on display type, battery capacity, and device configurations

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battery life depends upon battery capacity - Really?

      You realise this stuff is aimed at marketing people in luxury goods brands?

      But actually it isn't wrong, it's just saying that the improvement in run time (4 to 12 hours) will depend on the capacity of the battery to start with as well as any changes to display etc.

    2. DavCrav Silver badge

      Re: Battery life depends upon battery capacity - Really?

      "Battery life depends upon battery capacity - Really?"

      Product will be charged after charging.

  8. DavCrav Silver badge

    "Loyal Android Wear users"

    You incorrectly spelled 'user'.

  9. Threlkeld

    The AMAZFIT Bip claims to have a 45 day standby battery life. Presumably it is just telling the time, though.

    Reviewers seem to be saying they only get a week or so when using GPS, and having it check that their heart is still beating and other non-basic-watch-type activity.

    I wonder if it knows about British Summer Time?

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      I wonder if it knows about British Summer Time?

      Not sure it needs to when it syncs time from the phone. It does have metric and imperial settings though.

      I received the Amazfit Bip 12 days ago, I charged it to only 95% because I was impatient and it's now at 48%.

  10. 89724102172714182892114I7551670349743096734346773478647892349863592355648544996312855148587659264921 Bronze badge

    Jeez... Wake me up when these damned watches use an e-ink display (greyscale or colour), have year long battery life, run Linux and can accommodate a SIM to make calls.

    1. Threlkeld

      From the published info I think the 45-day standby is achieved by using a colour e-ink display - anyway it's always-on. The thing recharges on a stand quite quickly as the battery isn't huge. (The whole thing looks like a Apple watch). So, just needs the SIM and Linux, then. Almost there. ... possibly.

    2. werdsmith Silver badge

      The Pebble was E-ink some 5 years or so ago.

      And there are a few other options now, like the aforementioned Bip.

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