For a fair while now, smartwatches have been just a little bit disappointing. A lot of this was because Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 2100 platform – upon which almost all Android Wear smartwatches were based – was getting quite old, and frankly, slow.
Android Wear became Wear OS, and the demands for resources hardly went backwards, and all the while, the same chipset was expected to keep things running smoothly. Well, it didn’t, and it led to a swathe of fairly poor user experiences in Android smart watches.
Wear 3100 hasn’t saved us yet
Fortunately, Qualcomm has released the Snapdragon Wear 3100 chipset which should be far more capable. The only issue? There’s been nary a watch released that actually has it inside. The timing wasn’t great, and manufacturers just weren’t ready to release new ones. Not yet.
Because of this, Wear OS watches have slipped behind the likes of Apple’s Watch, Fitbit’s platform and even Samsung’s Galaxy Watch.
With only two smartwatches released on the new platform, we don’t have a good feel for what Wear 3100 can do. The consensus in reviews elsewhere is that the Montblanc Summit 2 and Fossil Sport are barely optimised for the new platform, leading to a disappointing experience.
Will Wear 3100 save us in 2019?
One can only hope that we see some more Wear 3100 smartwatches this coming year, and we’re likely to see at least a couple make their debut in coming months – either at CES 2019 which kicks off next week, or MWC 2019 which is at the back end of February.
What we want to see is watches built on the new platform, optimised to take advantage of the Wear 3100 chipset. This should deliver a couple of days’ battery life without issues, and a faster, less laggy, less janky experience.
Who will make these watches? I suspect Huawei is gearing up for the next installment of its Huawei Watch line, and there’s every chance that LG will release some new Wear devices too. We’d also put money on Fossil doing a better job in the not too distant future with Wear 3100, and we might see some new premium brands releasing watches in the next couple of months too.