Snapdragon Wear 5100 CPU might be a modest upgrade after all

The launch of the Galaxy Watch 4 also brought with it a new Exynos chip designed for wearable devices. Built on a 5nm process, the Exynos W920 promises to be the most powerful and most energy-efficient platform for smartwatches today, though it is only available for Samsung smartwatches anyway. Qualcomm is expected to fire back soon with a Snapdragon Wear 5100, but, based on new yet unofficial information, it could end up being a bit of a dud in at least one aspect.

The Snapdragon Wear 5100, if that will really be its name, was first spotted last month in Qualcomm's own source code. There was barely any detail available, but some guesswork suggested it would be based on Snapdragon platforms that used four Cortex-A73 and four Cortex-A53 cores. Naturally, it was hoped that Qualcomm would opt for the more powerful cores, but that might not be the case.

According to WinFuture's information, the Snapdragon Wear 5100 will be using four Cortex-A53 cores, similar to the Snapdragon Wear 4100/4100+, though exact clock speeds weren't provided. That means it will still use the 12nm low-power process as last year's wearable chipset, which would technically fall behind the Exynos W920 in terms of raw performance and power efficiency. There will still be an "ultra low power" processor to handle more menial tasks to save on battery life.

That's not to say that the chipset won't see important upgrades. It will apparently be able to support more and faster RAM, up to 2GB LPDDR4X, and storage in 8GB and 16GB capacities. Qualcomm is also testing support for 5MP and 16MP camera sensors, but that doesn't exactly translate to smartwatches with cameras.

There's no date yet on when the Snapdragon Wear 5100 is set to appear, but it might not matter much if smartwatch makers are still just adopting the Snapdragon Wear 4100 now. The situation doesn't paint an encouraging picture overall when Wear OS smartwatches continue to lag behind Apple's and Samsung's devices.