Qualcomm announces first-ever mass-market RISC-V Android SoC

It doesn’t have a name yet, but Qualcomm says it’s developing a “RISC-V Snapdragon Wear” chip in collaboration with Google. The company says it plans to “commercialize the RISC-V based wearables solution globally including the US.” For Google and Qualcomm, this chip represents everyone’s first swing at a commercial RISC-V Android project, and as far as we can tell, it’s the first announced mass-market RISC-V Android chip ever. Qualcomm says the groundwork it and Google lay out “will help pave the way for more products within the Android ecosystem to take advantage of custom CPUs that are low power and high performance.”

This is the biggest endorsement of RISC-V yet, and could catapult the platform to mainstream popularity pretty quickly. I do hope Qualcomm isn’t going to wrap their chip in a load of proprietary nonsense making them needlessly complex to support now and in the future, but I won’t be surprised if that hope turns out to be futile.