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Wear 2500 Targets Kid Watches

July 31, 2018

Author: Linley Gwennap

What does a company do when it already owns a market? In Qualcomm’s case, it continues to improve its processors so smartwatch vendors can attract more buyers to their Wear OS (formerly Android Wear) products. To better support the growing market for children’s watches, the company announced the Snapdragon Wear 2500 platform, an upgrade to the Snapdragon Wear 2100. Qualcomm plans to release a second new smartwatch chipset later this year that targets traditional (adult) watches.

The Wear 2500 is in production and should appear in watches later this year. It features the same MSM8909 processor as in the Wear 2100 platform; the innovations are in the support components. The new PMW3100 replaces the old PM8916 power-management chip while integrating three additional components. For cellular models, Qualcomm offers new GaAs power amplifiers (PAs) that reduce power. These changes extend battery life by 14% over the Wear 2100, according to the company.

About 32 million smartwatches shipped in 2017, up 50% from the previous year. Despite this rapid growth, these shipments correspond to just 2% of smartphone shipments. Qualcomm supplies the processor chipsets for nearly all Wear OS smartwatches, but this OS served in only five million units last year. (The company also supplies the baseband chip for the Apple Watch 3 cellular models, adding two million units.) Kid watches are another small segment, but their shipments are rising rapidly, particularly in China. In addition to tracking location, they can provide children with basic voice communication, games, and learning apps, often using integrated LTE connectivity.

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