Qualcomm declares to develop RISC-V-based mass-produced SoC 'RISC-V Snapdragon Wear' in cooperation with Google

Qualcomm and Google have announced a partnership to develop RISC-V processors for wearable devices. A new Snapdragon Wear processor will be developed that replaces the existing Arm CPU core with RISC-V silicon.

Qualcomm to Bring RISC-V Based Wearable Platform to Wear OS by Google | Qualcomm


Qualcomm announces first-ever mass-market RISC-V Android SoC | Ars Technica


Qualcomm and Google launch RISC-V wearables chip collaboration - SiliconANGLE

The adoption of the open source architecture RISC-V on Android is accelerating, and Google has already announced official support for RISC-V on Android. As a follow-up to software support for RISC-V, Qualcomm has announced that it will also make hardware compatible with RISC-V. If Qualcomm's attempt is successful, the first ever RISC-V-based SoC for Android will be released, and Qualcomm will provide Google with a ``RISC-V-based wearable solution for use with Wear OS by Google''. These are expected to be adopted in smart watches equipped with Wear OS that will be developed in the future.

RISC-V poses a major threat to the Arm CPU architecture that currently dominates all mobile devices. Because the RISC-V architecture is open source, it's cheaper and more flexible than Arm, and it's even possible to make completely open source chips. Chip design companies can compete with Arm's chip design business by creating their own chip designs.

The Pixel Watch 2 , which Google launched on October 12, 2023, is powered by Qualcomm's Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 Wearable processor. It is equipped with a GPU, a modem with 4G connectivity, and multiple digital signal processors, with most of the chip's processing power coming from a quad-core CPU clocked at 1.7GHz. According to Qualcomm, the core of this CPU is based on Arm's A53 core design and is optimized for power efficiency rather than performance.

The Snapdragon W5 Gen 1 Wearable is part of Qualcomm's chip series called 'Snapdragon Wear,' but Qualcomm plans to move away from Arm and develop a new Snapdragon Wear processor that replaces it with RISC-V silicon.

by Kārlis Dambrāns

Qualcomm has indicated that it will offer RISC-V silicon to device manufacturers other than Google. Google and Qualcomm have already begun expanding software support, touting it as 'paving the way for more products in the Android ecosystem to take advantage of low-power, high-performance custom CPUs.' The release date for commercial products of the RISC-V solution will be announced at a later date.

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