Qualcomm recently announced the launch of the Snapdragon Wear 2100, a new chipset that's designed specifically for wearable devices. The company, on the eve of Mobile World Congress 2016, has revealed that the first manufacturers have signed up to use the new hardware.
Many existing devices use a Snapdragon 400 chipset, one that was originally designed for smartphones, and this important step is a good indicator of demand in this expanding segment of the market.
The three manufacturers confirmed to be using Snapdragon Wear are Borqs, Compal and Infomark. You won't have heard of these companies, as they are ODM (original device manufacturer) companies. They build hardware to order, which is then branded by other companies.
This announcement is confirmation that work on reference devices is underway. Essentially, these sample reference devices will be used to demonstrate to other mainstream brands what the new hardware can do, and ultimately, become a new product you'll want to buy.
Borqs is looking at connected (3/4G) and tethered (Bluetooth/Wi-Fi) smartwatches and kids watches. Compal is working on Android and Android Wear devices based on SD Wear, and Infomark is working on the kid and elderly segments.
"Qualcomm Technologies is a leader in wearables with 25 products in development based on the new Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform in addition to more than 65 products already shipping," said Raj Talluri, senior vice president product management, at Qualcomm.
Snapdragon Wear isn't only for the Android Wear platform. When asked what platforms it would support, Qualcomm confirmed that it'll support what the customer wants, as its interest is in volume shipping of chips, rather than platform exclusivity.
"Together with Qualcomm Technologies and device manufacturers, we intend to bring the best of fashion and technology with incredibly small and thin smartwatches, tethered and connected devices, and next generation experiences," said Shawn Tien, senior director marketing at Compal.
It's going to be some before we see the first SD Wear device hit the market, but you can expect thinner devices with more battery life - and LG has already said we can expect something later in 2016. That sounds like a win for everyone.