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Qualcomm aims for more efficient wearables with latest chip

For when a standard smartwatch chip is too much.
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Daniel Acker/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Rather than bringing more computing power to wearable devices, Qualcomm is aiming for efficiency with its new Snapdragon Wear 1100 chip. Announced today at Computex, it's meant for small wearables that won't be able to fit in large batteries. The company launched the Snapdragon Wear 2100 chip a few months ago, itself a smaller option for wearables compared to the Snapdragon 400-series processors used in some Android Wear watches, but the 1100 model takes things even further.

Qualcomm says it's meant for "targeted purpose" wearables -- things like smartwatches for kids and the elderly, or fitness trackers, all of which won't need the horsepower that more powerful, multi-purpose wearables require. The chip is 45 percent smaller than Qualcomm's QSC6270 processor (the 2100 is 30 percent smaller), and it'll last for up to 7 days with LTE standby.

Among the Snapdragon Wear 1100's features is a Power Save Mode (pretty obvious why that's useful), and an integrated LTE/3G modem. Naturally, it'll also support Bluetooth and WiFi. The 1100 will also offer location tracking with Qualcomm's "iZat" technology, which uses cell tower and GNSS (satellite) tracking, and hardware-based security.

Qualcomm's chips are now being used in more than 100 wearables, the company says. A few partners also debuted new devices at Computex running Snapdragon 2100 chips: Anda showed off its tracking smartwatch for kids, while WeBandz unveiled a location tracker that could be used for children, the elderly or even pets. The Snapdragon 1100 is now shipping to customers, so you can expect to see it in devices early next year.

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