Today among the announcements of then new mid- and low-end SoC lineup Qualcomm also announced a new wearable platform dubbed the Snapdragon Wear 2500.

We don’t have many details on the platform so we're just interpreting what’s on the press release – but what seems to be happening here is that we’re looking at a new platform combining an existing SoC with a new supporting IC, rather than an entirely new SoC succeeding the Snapdragon 2100. In terms of disclosed specifications, the SW2500 matches the SW2100 as it uses a quad-core Cortex A7 CPU cluster as well as an X5 modem.

Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear SoCs
  Snapdragon Wear 2500 Snapdragon Wear 2100 Snapdragon Wear 1200
SoC 4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz
Adreno 304?
4x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz
Adreno 304
Cortex-A7 @ 1.3GHz
Fixed-function GPU
Process Node 28nm LP? 28nm LP 28nm LP
Display Up to 640x480 @ 60fps? Up to 640x480 @ 60fps Simple 2D UI
Modem Qualcomm X5 (Integrated)
2G / 3G / LTE (Category 4 150/50 Mbps)
Qualcomm X5 (Integrated)
2G / 3G / LTE (Category 4 150/50 Mbps)
Connected version only
Qualcomm (Integrated)
(Cat M1 & Cat NB1)
Connectivity 802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz),
BT 4.1 LE, NFC, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou, USB 2.0?
802.11b/g/n (2.4GHz),
BT 4.1 LE, NFC, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou, USB 2.0
Connected and Tethered versions
802.11b/g/n/ac, BT 4.2 LE, GPS/GLONASS/Galileo/BeiDou

The interesting thing about the Wear 2500 is the way that Qualcomm describes the improvements – notably the 14% improved battery life of the platform. This seems to have been achieved by a new PMIC that reduces the quiescent current of the system when the SoC is sleeping. The new power amplifiers are said to improve peak power efficiency by 20%. The new power delivery system is also noted to be 38% smaller than the predecessor which should allow vendors to optimise in terms of system PCB size and thus device dimensions.

The BSP (Board support package) provided by Qualcomm notably doesn’t outright run Android Wear, but rather an optimised version of Android O that is aimed at fitting into a lower 512MB footprint, while it also also has further software optimisations in terms of power management to shut off software components when not needed.

Overall, Qualcomm is pitching the new wearable platform at the kid watch market, which is a very similar direction to what we saw from them with last year's Snapdragon Wear 1200 launch. This is a quickly growing market, especially in Asia, where parents are keen to equip their kids with these limited-functionality wearables to keep in contact with and tabs on their most valuable assets. The Wear 2500, by extension, would represent the next step up from the 1200 for more powerful devices, gaining a much more powerful CPU cluster (quad core versus single core), a real Adreno GPU, etc.

Given that Qualcomm is marketing this new platform for the kid watch segment, it’s likely that this is not the overdue “true” successor to the Snapdragon Wear 2100 that we’d be hoping for. While we’re awaiting confirmation, it also seems that the SoC on the new platform is the same one used in the 2100 so naturally the improvements are solely on the side of the supporting ICs such as the PMIC and RFFE, which would be a bit disappointing given the new naming for the platform.

The Snapdragon Wear 2500 is sampling right now and expected to come to market in the coming quarter, with Huawei expected to be the first company to come to market with a kids watch based on the platform.

Source: Qualcomm

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  • aryonoco - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Oh yay! A 28nm Cortex A7 in 2018! Yay! Amazing job Qualcomm!
  • close - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    They had to occupy the extra production capacity with something while everything else moves to shrinking nodes.

    This being said the following on Qualcomm's site really cracked me up: "Based on high-performance quad-core A7 processors".

    Because yeah, a 7 year old design can definitely be called "high-performance" especially when A7 was always the "little" in big.LITTLE. So it wasn't high performance when it was designed, let alone more than half a decade later.
  • Wilco1 - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Older nodes have far lower leakage which is what matters for watches, fitness trackers etc. In the future many low power devices will move to FDSOI for this reason.

    Cortex-A7 was used as the main CPU in a huge number of phones (as recently as 2015, see ). Its performance is close to A53 which is seriously high performance for a watch.
  • close - Thursday, June 28, 2018 - link

    Yes... relatively speaking everything can be high and low performance. You just have to carefully choose the other comparison term.

    The A7 was used in many phones because it's small and cheap. But also the lowest end solution you can get. It wasn't high performance in 2011, it isn't now. The last MediaTek SoC using only the A7 (no high-perf cores like the A17) is the MT6592 from 2013. Used only in garbage phones due to the "high" performance. We're in 2018 now.

    While I get there is no need for more in a watch, that PR text doesn't say "high performance for a watch". The A7 was always the low power core, just like the A53. The "LITTLE" in big.LITTLE. They are literally called "low performance, power" by their own designers, ARM. If they used an A15 or an A57 I would have a different reaction.

    Now imagine someone saying "[insert anything here] using the high performance Pentium III core" in 2018. Maybe it's enough for a mouse, or an alarm clock. Will still make you wince. Or laugh :).
  • tuxRoller - Thursday, June 28, 2018 - link

  • SydneyBlue120d - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Is Project Treble supported?
  • DigitalFreak - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Nope. It's all about that bass.
  • Tams80 - Tuesday, July 3, 2018 - link

    Keep your fish out of my watch.
  • jordanclock - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Yeah. This is the Snapdragon Wear update everyone wanted, Qualcomm. /s
  • rocky12345 - Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - link

    Yea lets target kids I'm sure wearing a smart watch is high on their list of things to want to do.

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