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MediaTek is developing a wearable-centric chip

MediaTek is designing a chip specifically for smart watches, fitness trackers, and other wearable devices.

Published onJanuary 4, 2016

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Wearables are pretty new to the mobile marketplace. So, historically, wearable devices have basically just borrowed processors that were originally intended for smartphones. It’s not unusual, for instance, to see a Snapdragon 400 running a smartwatch. Unfortunately, wearables are fundamentally different devices than smart watches. For one, they are a lot smaller. For another, they have radically different needs than a smartphone does. This is why MediaTek has decided to design the MT2523 series specifically for wearable devices.

The chip is constructed from the ground up to suit smartwatches and fitness devices. MediaTek claims that the MT2523 series is the first system-in-package in the world to bring GPS, dual-mode Bluetooth low energy, and MIPI-supported high resolution to the kinds of tiny mobile screens smartwatches require. The chip is optimal for long battery life, as MediaTek says the MT2523 can stay alive for more than a week on a full charge.

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In their release, MediaTek said that the “MT2523, with its combination low power and rich features, marks a significant step forward for the smart watch and wristband industries… Power combined with efficiency has always been the hallmark of MediaTek technology solutions and we are leading the charge in bringing this know-how to IoT products.”

So far, most smart watches running Android Wear have been cribbing hard from the Cortex-A7 CPU core. This system is much more potent than what MT2523 is bringing to the table, but what MediaTek is aiming for isn’t the pinnacle of processing. They’re trying to produce a chip that has specifications perfectly suited for the type of device that it will be running on. This means that we’ll probably be seeing the MT2523 in action on mid-range devices rather than smart watches that are really seeking to push the boundaries of what wearable tech is capable of.

MediaTek says their chips will be available to manufacturers sometime during the first half of 2016. While we’re waiting, tell us what you think about the concept of a chip designed specifically for wearable devices. Is this the right direction for chip producers, or should they be concentrating their efforts elsewhere? Let us know in the comments below!

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