The first Pixel Watch marks a promising but first-gen return to the smartwatch market for Google — will the second-generation version do better? 9to5Google Reports indicate that it will come with at least a new system on a chip: the Qualcomm Snapdragon W5 Gen 1. This change will change the Pixel Watch line from Samsung to Qualcomm SoCs.
The original Pixel Watch shipped with the Exynos 9110 — not a bad chip by any means — except that when the Pixel Watch hit the market, the Exynos 9110 was four years old. As a 10nm dual Cortex A53 chip, it was outdated by technology standards. By the time the Pixel Watch came out, Samsung already had a next-generation chip on the market, the Exynos W920, and had shipped watches with the new chip.
While the Qualcomm Snapdragon Wear W5 still has the same CPUs as the A53, it has four of them, and the chip should be more power efficient thanks to its 4nm manufacturing process. The Pixel Watch 2 is expected to be released by the end of the year, and by then the Snapdragon W5 SoC won’t be a spring chicken either. The chip was announced in July 2022, and the first products hit the market a month later August 2022– That’s what a good tech rollout looks like, by the way. The Pixel Watch 2 release date is supposed to be October 2023, 15 months after the chip was announced. That’s better than four years ago, but time still seems like Google’s biggest enemy when it ships a smartwatch.
The Qualcomm W5 chip isn’t even recent. Arm Cortex A53 cores have been around for 11 years. Exynos W920, which It has been announced In 2021, I’m already switching to “newer” Cortex-A55 CPUs (they’re only six years old!). Qualcomm hasn’t paid much attention to the smartwatch market, and while this new chip is a huge improvement for the company, it’s not at the “best effort” level of technology you typically see in smartphone chips. By October, though, the Samsung Galaxy Watch 6 should be on the market with a faster Exynos W980 chip.
The other tidbit in the report is that the Pixel Watch 2 will use the same sensors as Google’s FitBit Sense 2, which includes a “continuous electrical activity (cEDA) sensor.” This can track skin temperature and sweat levels, which some programs can spin into a stress level detector after some calibration.
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