When smartwatches arrived on the scene almost two years ago, there were still no components specially designed to the still unheard of device. That meant manufacturers had to make do retrofitting smartphone pieces for smartwatches, which practically meant using unoptimized hardware. February this year, Qualcomm unveiled the Snapdragon Wear 2100 to offer a system-on-chip solution more suited for smartwatches and similar multi-purpose devices. Now at Computex 2016, it is following that up with the Snapdragon Wear 1100 which targets more special-purpose devices instead.
At first brush, that description might make the snapdragon Wear 1100 sound limited and underpowered, but that might not be the whole story. Qualcomm has not yet revealed exact specs for the 1100 chip so we’re not yet certain how it compares to the earlier 2100. The fact, however, is that the Snapdragon Wear 1100 is intended to be used in “target-purpose” devices, like simple trackers, wearable accessories, and the like.
That said, the 1100 does almost come feature complete as far as desired processor features go. It even supports Cat 1 LTE/3G, which, until recently, wasn’t even a feature on any smartwatch. Of course, that’s in addition to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. It also sports Qualcomm’s iZat location engine for more energy efficient positioning. And despite the small size, the Snapdragon Wear 1100 is built for security, with its own hardware cryptographic engine, hardware random number generator, and ARM TrustZone.
Consumers will probably not see regular smartwatches powered by the Wear 1100 chip. It will instead find its way to toys, fitness accessories, and location trackers. Meanwhile, the number of device makers embracing the Snapdragon Wear 2100 is also growing, with more kids smartwatches joining the fray this year.