It's been over two years since Qualcomm last introduced a new smart watch processor, and Android smart watches have stalled (largely, though not exclusively) because of it. That will change this year when Qualcomm presents at least two new smartwatch chips. The first one is announced today, but it is not the general-purpose chip that we have been waiting for: instead, it is only intended for children's watches.
The new chip, the Snapdragon Wear 2500, is designed for what Qualcomm considers an emerging smart watch market based on the needs of children (and their parents). Pankaj Kedia, who leads wearable in Qualcomm, says that these watches are designed to give children the ability to continue learning and connect with gadgets when they leave the house and are at school, where they are not always next to a computer.
"It's like you've grown up on Alexa and would like to take Alexa," Kedia said in a telephone interview. "Do you want to ask Alexa & # 39; what is the capital of the US? & ¿39; who is the 35th president of the US? & # 39; or learn a different language, and the voice assistants are giving it to you, literally, children in that group use children's watches to learn. "
The Wear 2500 chip is about one third smaller than previous Wear chips and is supposed to provide a slightly better battery life. The chip is compatible with LTE, up to a 5 megapixel camera, location tracking and many other sensors.
Since it is for children, it seems that it will be a less powerful platform than any chip of wear that Qualcomm is planning next, but Kedia would not clarify that point or why the 2500 could not be used to make general purpose watches. "I have a Tesla and a Porsche," he said. "Both lead me from point A to point B, but they are designed for different use cases, the same kind of things here."
There is another interesting drawback in the Wear 2500 chip: it is not designed to support Wear OS, Google's smartwatch platform. Instead, it is meant to be combined with a customized version of Android that Qualcomm has created for children's watches. It's called Android for Kids and it seems it will not support notifications or an app store; instead, manufacturers will preload it with applications and games that they believe kids and parents will want.
Qualcomm has already started offering the Wear 2500 to hardware partners and expects the watches that use it to start appearing this year. Huawei will be among the first partners.
Kedia did not have an update on when Qualcomm's next general purpose smartwatch chip would arrive, one aimed at Wear OS watches. But he said that both the child and adult surveillance segments "are big today, getting bigger and bigger" and that Qualcomm had the intention to lead in both. "Winning is fun," Kedia said. "Qualcomm is winning, we are winning because we are investing."