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Google partners with Qualcomm to develop a “low power, high performance” RISC-V chip for Wear OS

Google and Qualcomm have announced a collaboration to develop a “RISC-V Snapdragon Wear platform” for future Wear OS solutions. RISC-V is an open standard instruction set architecture that provides an open-source alternative to ARM and x86. This collaboration aims to encourage innovation and competition by allowing companies to develop custom cores using the open-source RISC-V architecture.

The Google-Qualcomm partnership emphasizes the benefits of RISC-V’s openness, flexibility, and scalability for the entire value chain, from silicon vendors to OEMs, end devices, and consumers. While there is no specific launch date for the commercial product yet, the companies are actively working on developing the RISC-V wearable-based solution.

Qualcomm’s leaders highlight that this collaboration will pave the way for more products within the ecosystem to utilize custom, low-power, and high-performance CPUs. In the meantime, Qualcomm will continue to invest in Snapdragon Wear platforms, positioning themselves as the leading provider of smartwatch silicon for the Wear OS ecosystem.

Interestingly, Apple also showed interest in RISC-V during Autumn 2021 when they posted a job position requiring “Detailed knowledge of RISC-V.” However, Apple has not shared further details about their involvement with the open-source architecture and continues to rely on ARM’s architecture, paying royalties accordingly.

According to ARM, RISC processors offer high performance per watt, making them ideal for battery-operated devices that prioritize energy efficiency. These processors also simplify the design and deployment process for chip designers, resulting in lower per-chip costs due to smaller components and fewer required transistors.

The collaboration between Google and Qualcomm in developing the RISC-V Snapdragon Wear platform marks an exciting chapter in the wearable industry. With their combined expertise, we can expect innovative and power-efficient wearable solutions to enhance the user experience in the future. Stay tuned for further updates on the progress of this collaboration and the upcoming commercial product launch.

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