The one thing killing Android smartwatches at CES 2023


Disappointment is a familiar feeling for anyone interested in smartwatches not made by Apple or Samsung, and the sinking feeling caused by missed opportunities was also seen at CES 2023. Welcome to a few attractive smartwatches. I seem to be stuck in a time when the envelope has not been pressed firmly. The most frustrating part isn’t because technology isn’t waiting for us.

For a show that typically offers wearables more exciting than smartphones, CES 2023 didn’t give us what we really wanted: a true next-gen smartwatch.

Where is the Snapdragon W5+ Gen 1?

Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

You expected me to complain about Wear OS 3. For once, it’s not the biggest disappointment. Instead, that dubious honor goes to the complete demise of Qualcomm and the Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 and W5+ Gen 1 processors. It was a significant improvement over the previous Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform chip, promising faster performance, greater efficiency, and smaller smartwatch designs.

Good software is only one piece of the smartwatch puzzle, and next-generation processors are as important as Google’s Wear OS 3 to reinvigorating Android wearables. There are multiple companies that really know how to design great smartwatches, as Montblanc proved at a nice Summit. 3 and the connected caliber E4, TAG Heuer can only get so far without a powerful chip. When Software you can trust. In mid-2022, all the right ingredients seemed to be on the table and ready to go, at least for a while.

It’s January 2023 and the ingredients are still on the table and a little moldy. The rumored Mobvoi TicWatch Pro with a Gen 1 chip is still only a rumor, even though it’s supposed to arrive in the fall. , it is no longer attractive.

Maybe I’m impatient. Seven months is probably not long enough for a newly announced chip to become a product I can buy. It is possible, but we already have a good smartphone with a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, which was announced in November 2022.

Wear OS 3 is struggling

A TAG Heuer Connected Carburettor E4 45mm on a man's wrist.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

If the Snapdragon Wear W5+ Gen 1 isn’t in Google’s Wear OS 3 powered smartwatch, what’s in its place? Citizen brought the most interesting smartwatch to CES 2023. CZ Smart Sport and CZ Smart Casual. It looks great, comes with Wear OS 3 installed, and comes with unusual apps to enhance your wellness experience. However, power is still supplied by the Snapdragon 4100+ chip. Fossil showed off the previously announced Diesel Griffed Gen 6. This is a Wear OS 3 smartwatch based on Fossil’s Gen 6 platform and powered by a Snapdragon 4100+ chip.

ridiculous. The Snapdragon 4100+ was announced in June 2020 with a replacement from Qualcomm and despite being touted as being very good, we are talking about a brand new product that will use it in early 2023. Yes. Wear OS 3 has been its own biggest enemy since its release, but now it’s being held back by an outdated processor. The worst thing is that we’ve seen it all before.

The Citizen CZ Smart Sport looks great, but costs around $400. Yes, it has the latest software, but the chip is far from the latest version. Spending so much on a smartwatch that doesn’t yet represent the best tech and software seems misplaced. Is it wrong to expect the latest software and the latest processors? is becoming a target. This is welcome, but still only half of what we deserve.

Apple and Samsung are always smiling

Apple Watch Series 8 and Galaxy Watch 5.
Andy Boxall/Digital Trends

In its CES 2023 announcement, Google said that since Wear OS 3 launched in 2021 (yes, that was a long time ago), “the number of active Wear OS smartwatches worldwide has tripled. I claim. If we’re only talking about Wear OS 3 and not the Wear OS 2 models that so many manufacturers keep releasing, all of these new smartwatches must have been made by Samsung. Even Google’s efforts to compete aren’t worth your time.

Samsung isn’t the only smartwatch maker willing to watch over the rest of the flounder as it tries to offer a true next-gen product. has been released. Alongside the Galaxy Watch 5, the Apple Watch (any of them) is the default choice for those who want a smartwatch at the moment, depending on which smartphone they choose. so why bother with a different model when it’s chock full of old chips inside?

CES 2023 could have been the winner for wearables, but instead it was another depressing disappointment. Do what you’re procrastinating on. Head to an Apple or Samsung store and get the only smartwatch you’ll ever buy.

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