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Samsung details new smartwatch chip ahead of Galaxy Watch 4 launch

Samsung details new smartwatch chip ahead of Galaxy Watch 4 launch


New hardware for new software

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Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Samsung has announced the Exynos W920, a new processor designed for smartwatches and other wearables. The company says it’s the world’s first wearable-specific chip to be built on a 5nm process, helping improve performance and efficiency.

The Exynos 920 has two Cortex-A55 cores and a Mali-G68 GPU. (For context, Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 888 has four Cortex-A55 cores that are used for low-power tasks.) Samsung is claiming 20 percent better CPU performance and ten times better GPU performance than its previous wearable chip. The W920 also includes a Cortex-M55 processor that’s dedicated to driving an always-on display, further reducing power consumption.

We likely won’t have to wait too long to see this chip used in a commercial device. Samsung explicitly says that the Exynos W920 “supports a new unified wearable platform Samsung built jointly with Google, and will be first applied to the upcoming Galaxy Watch model.”

That model is almost certainly the extensively leaked Galaxy Watch 4 series, which we’re expecting to see break official cover at Samsung’s Unpacked event on Wednesday. As Samsung mentions, the company has been working with Google on new smartwatch software that combines Tizen and Wear OS, and now we know that it’ll be running on new hardware as well. That should be good news, since performance has long been a problem on Wear OS watches.