There’s something to be said for the old adage that says ‘you don’t know what you had until it’s gone’. It seems that Qualcomm may be regretting its lack of support for Wear OS now that Google and Samsung have merged their respective smartwatch platforms, especially since Samsung is making Exynos processors for the Galaxy Watch 4 that launches in August.
After Wear OS struggled for years with the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chipset which was then rehashed with the addition of a co-processor and then marketed as a ‘new’ chipset called the Snapdragon Wear 3100, Qualcomm finally brought a new processor to market in 2020. Almost a year later and only Mobvoi have released smartwatches running on the new Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform and while the rest of us were wondering why this was the case, it turned out that Google and Samsung had been doing a deal to unify the Wear OS and Tizen OS smartwatch platforms in order to revive the wearable segment.
Qualcomm’s newly announced ‘Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Program’ is aimed at facilitating collaboration amongst companies and ‘accelerate’ solutions to these challenges by sharing technology, holding training sessions, as well as demonstrate concepts and introduce members of the ecosystem to each other as needed.
““Our Snapdragon Wear platforms are driving the industry, powering smartwatches for kids, seniors, and adults and smart trackers for pets and accessories,” said Pankaj Kedia, senior director & global head, smart wearables, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. “We are significantly growing our investments in leading edge ground-up silicon, platforms, and technologies and plan to roll out new Snapdragon Wear platforms across segments over the next year to meet our long-term vision.”
Qualcomm says that more than 60 companies involved in the wearable segment are participating in the Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Program, including the likes of OPPO, Arm, Fossil, Verizon, Vodafone, and Zebra.
After the announcement of the unified Wear OS platform between Google and Samsung, many were wondering what would happen to those brands that had invested in the old Wear OS, including the question of if Qualcomm would continue to produce chips for the smartwatch platform. It appears that we have our answer, and for all the shade I’ve thrown at Qualcomm for their lackadaisical support of Wear OS, it’s good to learn of their ongoing involvement in the segment. Hopefully the new Wear OS is the one we’ve been waiting for all this time.