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Wear 4100+ Gets 12nm Upgrade

July 14, 2020

Author: Aakash Jani

Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon Wear 4100+ and 4100 chipsets deliver gains of up to 85% in CPU, GPU, and memory-throughput performance relative to the Snap­dragon Wear 3100. The performance increases come from process-technology enhancements, an upgraded SoC, an upgraded GPU, and a new chipset architecture. The only difference between the 4100 and 4100+ is that the former omits the QCC1110 coproces­sor.

Although the 4100 is an improvement over the two-year-old 3100, Qualcomm leveraged its vast portfolio to create the new design. The core SoC is a repurposed Snapdragon 429. The separate coprocessor chip carries forward from the 3100 but upgrades the SRAM, DSP, and sensor execution environment. The company also reused the PMIC, Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth modules from the 3100.

Given its limited market share, Qualcomm was smart to reuse previous chip technologies when designing the 4100, thereby reducing costs while delivering a solid product. This financial model will serve the company well until it captures a flagship customer. Big design wins will cause Qualcomm’s strategy to shift, along with its investments. As it stands, the 4100 fails to strongly differentiate itself from the likes of Apple and Samsung. Even though the camera option is gaining traction in Chinese markets, loyalty to Apple and Samsung will limit Wear OS and ASOP growth in smartwatch market share.

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