Wearables Trend and Supply Chain, Samsung Gear Fit as the state-of-the-art wristband wearable, i.e. the hybrid of a smartwatch and a fitness band, as a demonstration

The April commercial availability of the innovative Gear Fit solution prompted me to a thorough investigation of the wearable phenomenon in general and Gear Fit in particular. This is also a follow-up to my earlier Companion Device Computing as envisaged and implemented by Pranav Mistry and his TTT team from Samsung: the case of Galaxy Gear + Galaxy Note 3 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 12, 2013] post.

Complementary post: Imagination’s MIPS based wearable and IoT ecosystem is the alternative [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 17, 2014]

My current findings are detailed in the following sections of this post:

I. POST-PC DEVICE MARKET: SMARTPHONES—>TABLETS—>(NOW) WEARABLES
II. THE ONGOING WEARABLE REVOLUTION
III. THE SAMSUNG GEAR FIT WEARABLE SOLUTION
IV. COMPONENT LEVEL DETAILS
V. LEADING WEARABLE COMPONENT SUPPLIES: MCU SOCS AND SENSOR SOCS*

*As these type of components are driving the emergence of innovative wearable gadgets


I. POST-PC DEVICE MARKET: SMARTPHONES—>TABLETS—>(NOW) WEARABLES

During the investigation of the overall wearable phenomenon I found especially interesting a couple of things in terms of device market perspectives:

  1. While 7 years ago the venerable PC in its various incarnations—desktop, notebook/laptop, and the brand new netbook category—was ruling the device scene, in 2014 smartphones and tablets are the kings of the device market.
  2. Moreover, such a disruption was lead by Apple, not by Microsoft as earlier:


    6/29/2007: iPhone, iPod touch (ARM 1176JZ(F)-S @412 MHz, 128MB, PowerVR MBX Lite, GPRS/EDGE 2.5G for iPhone, 3.5” display of 480 × 320 pixels, 2MP)
    7/11/2008: iPhone 3G (the same except 3.6 Mbps UMTS/HSDPA) & App Store
    6/19/2009: iPhone 3GS (the same except ARM Cortex-A8 @600 MHz, 256MB, PowerVR SGX535, 7.2 Mbps UMTS HSDPA, 3MP camera)
    4/03/2010: iPad (ARM Cortex-A8 @1 GHz, 256MB, PowerVR SGX535, 9.7” display of 1024×768 pixels, WiFi [+3G])
    (As it was described in Apple’s Consumer Computing System: 5 years of “revolutionary” iPhone and “magical” iPad [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 9, 2012].)
  3. The already 4 years old Android project was fundamentally affected by the new iPhone, and the subsequent touch-oriented redesign of this open-source OS led to the first commercial device release almost 2 years later (see Android – History [Wikipedia]). Its open-source nature and easy to adopt reference designs by leading SoC vendors lead to a booming Android smartphone market which in 2010 overtook the iPhone market thanks to an ever expanding number of vendors, from tier-1 multinationals to the lowest cost white-box vendors of Mainland China. So the year 2013 ended with an indisputed long-term dominance of the Android smartphones:

  4. According to a quarter earlier post of mine: Q3’13 smartphone and overall mobile phone markets: Android smartphones surpassed 80% of the market, with Samsung increasing its share to 32.1% against Apple’s 12.1% only; while Nokia achieved a strong niche market position both in “proper” (Lumia) and “de facto” (Asha Touch) smartphones [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Nov 14, 2013]. So Samsung became the only true beneficiary of the Android wave, which enabled the company to reap extra profit (a’la Apple) from its smartphone business but also achieve a significantly higher market share (32.1%) than that of Apple (12.1% only). Meanwhile Nokia was unable to establish a viable foothold with its “third ecosystem” Windows Phone approach (announced in February 2011) despite of having 2 years in row for that and huge marketing subsidies from Microsoft to the tune of $250M per quarter:

  5. As a further effect of both Apple, Samsung and Android dominance on the device market I was able to point (just a month ago) to The lost U.S. grip on the mobile computing market, including not only the device business, but software development and patterns of use in general [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 14, 2014] with
    as reflecting a longer term perspective of having Apple, Samsung and white-box vendors of mainland China to dominate not only the smartphone but the tablet market as well, in detriment to PC OEMs.

  6. As a result of all that I already used the following 3d party propositions Mobile Cloud Computing: proven questions and statements about the current and future state-of-the-market [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, March 21, 2014] to highlight the essence of changes:
    – Is Android Becoming the New Windows?
    – Tablets to Outsell PCs Worldwide by 2015
    – Android Blows Past iOS in Global Tablet Market
    – Android To Retain Big Lead In Maturing Smartphone Market
    – The Price Gap Between iOS and Android Is Widening
    – In Just 2 Years, Google And Facebook Have Come To Control 75% Of All Mobile Advertising

  7. As far as the current wearable wave is concerned we have already 15 Years of Smartwatch Evolution [Teardown.com, April 25, 2014] if counted from innovations which are still essential in wearables, like a GPS sensor (first in PRT-1GPJ from Casio introduced in June 1999), an integrated MP3 player (again a Casio device, the WMP-1V introduced in March 2000), or an integrated digital camera (once again a Casio device, the WQV-1 introduced in June 2000), as the previous “smartwatches” were rather computer enhanced digital watches, like the Seiko RC series released in 1985. The above “smartwatch evolution” post is giving a brief overview of the state-of-the-art in terms of Basis Carbon Steel (release date 1/3/2014), Qualcomm Toq (release date 12/02/2013), Samsung Galaxy Gear (release date 9/15/2013) and PebbleWatch (release date 1/23/2013). Thus it is giving ground for comparison with the latest 2014 products, like the Gear Fit detailed in this post. As such it will also show how a relatively slow pace of innovation leading to those products could substantially be accelerated this year and the next 1-2 years lying ahead. 
    Galaxy Gear vs Pebble [Pocketnow YouTube channel, Oct 21, 2013]

  8. As far as other wearables with similar long time evolution are concerned there is the fitness/activity/health tracker/band category which seems to come to end as a distinct device category. As it has been pointed out in The end of fitness bands? Wearable tech feels ready to move forward article on April 21, 2014 from CNET: “Suddenly, it looks like a good handful of fitness band companies are in a state of flux. Nike’s future in FuelBand hardware is coming to an end. Fitbit is lacking its top-end product, the Fitbit Force, after a recall this winter. Basis has been acquired by Intel [yes the maker of the Basis Carbon Steel itself called “the most advanced health tracker in the world” in a smartwatch disguise]. … ‘There’s probably an analogy with MP3 players,’ says Sonny Vu, CEO of Misfit Wearables, maker of another fitness tracker on the market, the Shine. ‘Even more so with GPS units. The latter are still bought by some people, perhaps because of the various benefits of having dedicated hardware. In a similar vein, activity trackers will need to provide for use cases that are compelling enough to justify their existence.’ ”
    CNET Top 5 – Best fitness trackers [CNET YouTube channel, May 2, 2014]

    Wearable tech that will inspire you to get in shape.

    Why Wearable Fitness Trackers Are Just A Fad That’s Going To Die from Jason Jacobs, CEO at fitness app vendor Runkeeper goes even further on May 8, 2014: “While the fitness device category has soared in recent years, most of these products will eventually be swallowed up by smartphones and smart watches offering ‘good enough’ functionality. Even the winners of the fitness tracker race will face an uphill battle against a legion of smart devices. … So what will the winning tracking solution look like? There is no doubt it will be software-only. With better and better devices available, like the iPhone 5S with its M7 motion co-processor or emerging smart watches like the Pebble and the rumored iWatch [from Apple], the need for dedicated fitness tracking devices is being diminished by the day.  No one wants to purchase, wear and maintain a redundant device. The winning software will come as an integrated suite.”

  9. As far as the market volumes and segments are concerned we can rely on Worldwide Wearable Computing Market Gains Momentum with Shipments Reaching 19.2 Million in 2014 and Climbing to Nearly 112 Million in 2018, Says IDC press release from IDC as of April 10, 2014:

    According to new research from International Data Corporation (IDC), wearables took a huge step forward over the past year and shipment volumes will exceed 19 million units in 2014, more than tripling last year’s sales. From there, the global market will swell to 111.9 million units in 2018, resulting in a CAGR of 78.4%.

    Complex accessories (e.g., Nike+ FuelBand, Jawbone UP, and Fitbit devices) will lead the wearables market through 2018 as users continue to embrace their simplicity and low price points. These devices are designed to operate partially independent of any other device, but fully operate when connected with IP-capable devices such as a smartphone, tablet, or a PC. “Complex accessories have succeeded in drawing much-needed interest and attention to a wearables market that has had some difficulty gaining traction,” said Ramon Llamas, Research Manager, Mobile Phones. “The increased buzz has prompted more vendors to announce their intentions to enter this market. Most importantly, end-users have warmed to their simplicity in terms of design and functionality, making their value easy to understand and use.”

    Another segment of the market, smart accessories, will gain momentum through the forecast period and surpass complex accessory shipments by 2018. Similar to complex accessories, with their dependence on connecting with IP-capable devices, smart accessories allow users to add third-party applications that boost features and functions for a more robust experience. While not quite ready for prime time, the smart accessory market will continue to mature as users better understand and accept the value proposition and vendors refine their offerings.

    The third segment of the wearables market is smart wearables, such as Google Glass, which function with full autonomy, independent of any other device except to access the Internet. To succeed, smart wearable vendors must convince users to shift to a new user experience while offering them a robust selection of third-party applications. It is not a question of “if,” but “when” wearables as a whole will extend into the enterprise.

    Finally, according to the latest IDC ConsumerScape 360° survey of more than 50,000 consumers in 26 countries, Samsung, which has already unveiled multiple wearable computing devices, was identified as the most trusted brand for wearables, ahead of Apple, Sony, and Google.

  10. Then we should examine How Big Can Wearables Be For Companies Like Apple? [The Motley Fool YouTube channel, April 24, 2014]

    I’m [i.e. Andrew Tonner, a Motley Fool contributor] a firm believer that wearable are perhaps the best bet to become the most immediate, mass growth market in tech as companies like Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) should help push this market into the mainstream in the months ahead.

    However, there’s just one problem that should have tech investors scratching their heads on the eve of this emerging tech trend.

    Few people have a handle on just how significant a growth driver the wearables market could be for names like Apple. Thankfully, one well-respected research firm recently attempted to clear up the confusion.

    As you many have rightly assumed, the growth potential for the wearables market is truly awesome, or so said researcher IDC in a note published earlier this month [see the point #9 above].

    In fact, IDC estimates that the wearables market will reach shipments well over one hundred million within five year, providing plenty of profit potential for tech giants like Apple.

    However, as someone that’s spent quite some time following this nascent market, I believe it will actually be up to Apple to truly infuse enough intelligence into the modern smartwatch to make it worth the average consumers’ money. And until Apple changes the game later this year, tech and telecom specialist Andrew Tonner argues in the video below above that the smartwatch market will likely be stuck in a holding pattern.

With expectations for Apple’s new Magic device in the wearable space starting in 2013 here is the latest Apple iWatch rumorus round-up [T3 – The Gadget Experts YouTube channel, May 1, 2014]

Apple iWatch rumorus round-up. With Nike dropping the Fuelband could we see the tech inside the first iWatch? We round-up all the rumours of Apple’s wrist-bound device.

Here is also a speculative article Apple iWatch Release Date, Specs, Features & Design: WWDC Sneak Peek? [Know Your Mobile, April 28, 2014] from which I will  include here the rumors about their critical supply chain partner in terms of premium differentiation:

LG to produce displays for Apple iWatch

Details on Apple’s long rumoured smartwatch have been sparse over the past few months but a report from Korea is starting the ball rolling again. The report which came out on Monday states that LG Display will exclusively produce displays for the iWatch.
There will be a mass production of the screens from July through until September to make 2 million units in total, according to the report. The technology is similar to that used by the Korean manufacturer in the LG G Flex handset and the display will measure 1.52-inches. In terms of the glass, it will be P-OLED or plastic OLED.
But will it be bendable and feature the same anti-scratch technology which the LG G Flex boasts? What does give this report some credence is the July to September production dates. Apple has experienced some difficulties in getting the iWatch off the ground. Problems have included the screen technology, battery power and other corporate problems.
The LA Times reports that the latest patent granted to Apple shows that the company is making a curved screen iPhone – following in the footsteps of of Samsung and LG.
KoreaHerald, also reported on LG’s apparent deal with Apple and quotes an anonymous source saying,
“LG Display has been in talks over flexible organic light-emitting diode panels for quite a while and it looks like it will be sealing the deal with Apple.”
As per previous rumour, Apple is thought to still be in a prototype testing phase and has multiple models with different sized screens in testing. These are said to inlcude a 1.4-inch model, a 1.5-inch model and a 1.6-inch model.
The Chosun Ilbo, citing unnamed “industry sources”, reports that Apple is currently working with three design prototypes with flexible plastic OLED screens. One such prototype with a 1.5-inch flexible OLED panel appears to have been given a limited production run, presumably for test units, while the other two with 1.3-inch and 1.4-inch screens are still being worked on.

And—finally—here is A look at LG G Flex’s Flexible OLED display [‘AnandTech Video Reviews’ YouTube channel, Dec 3, 2013]:

LG G Flex has a 6 inch 720p (RGB stripe) flexible OLED display with a plastic substrate and up to 400 mm radius of curvature, G Flex is 700 mm radius of curvature natively.

With that in mind I can proceed now to the other sections of this post:

II. THE ONGOING WEARABLE REVOLUTION
III. THE SAMSUNG GEAR FIT WEARABLE SOLUTION
IV. COMPONENT LEVEL DETAILS
V. LEADING WEARABLE COMPONENT SUPPLIES: MCU SOCS AND SENSOR SOCS*

*As these type of components are driving the emergence of innovative wearable gadgets


II. THE ONGOING WEARABLE REVOLUTION

It is clear that a wearable revolution is upon us. A few important signs of that:

  1. Wearable Tech at CES 2014! [Android Authority YouTube channel, Jan 14, 2014]
    We may not have been able to look at all of the wearable tech at CES 2014, but the ones we did get to certainly got us excited about the upcoming trend. Check out these clips of some of the wearable technology we got to get our hands on!
  2. The Android Wear site became available from March 18, 2014 with Introducing Android Wear Developer Preview:

    Android Wear extends the Android platform to wearables, starting with a familiar form factor – watches. Download the developer preview at: developer.android.com/wear.” See also DevBytes – Android Wear: Developer Preview [Android Developers YouTube channel, March 18, 2014]

  3. We know that there is an LG G Watch powered by Android Wear being developed in close collaboration with Google [LG press release, March 19, 2014], it “… will be compatible with a wide range of Android™ smartphones. … LG is planning to introduce its first watch powered by Android Wear in the second quarter of 2014.
  4. On May 11, 2014 we had also an LG G Watch : Product Movie promotion with a new LG G Watch site for marketing (it was rumored to arrive in June):
    Sleek and lightweight for all-day comfort. Metal body for a timeless look. Ready for anything, anytime with a single charge. It is time to experience LG G Watch.
  5. Microsoft will also join the wearable platform race according to CEO Satya Nadella making the following remarks on the MSFT Earnings Conference Call, April 24, 2014: “Fundamentally, we participated in the PC market, now we are in a market that’s much bigger that the PC market. … Then, when it comes to new opportunities from wearables to Internet of things, we want to be able to participate in all of this with our Windows offering, with our tools around it, and we want to be able to price by category. … because in a world of ubiquitous computing we want Windows to be ubiquitous. That doesn’t mean it’s one price, one business model for all of that. And it’s actually a market expansion opportunity, and that’s the way we’re going to go execute on it.

    The context in which Microsoft’s “mobile first –> mobility first” and “cloud first” approach gets real meaning IMHO is consisting of a set of solutions, mainly:

    • platform solutions: this is where wearables are a distinct solution category 
    • productivity solutions
    • leisure and entertainment solutions: here wearables are a distinct solution category as well

    Then we should remember Nadella’s answer to his question posed in his email to employees on first day as CEO [Feb 4, 2014]

    What do we do next?

    This starts with clarity of purpose and sense of mission that will lead us to imagine the impossible and deliver it. We need to prioritize innovation that is centered on our core value of empowering users and organizations to “do more.” We have picked a set of high-value activities as part of our One Microsoft strategy. And with every service and device launch going forward we need to bring more innovation to bear around these scenarios.

    From my earlier analysis of Microsoft reorg for delivering/supporting high-value experiences/activities [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 11, 2013] I will include here the following high-value activities based on devices and services delivery which were defined back then by the company (as no more recent definition is publicly available) and highlight those that are relevant in terms of wearables:

    Reinventing expression and documents. People love and need to express themselves in new ways. Documents are going from being printed to being experienced. There are many high-value needs for personal creative expression — some just for fun, others at work or at school. We will reinvent the tools and form of expressing oneself (and expressing things as a group) from paper and slides to online. We will ensure that the tools handle multimedia (photos, videos, text, charts and slides) in an integrated way and natively online. These documents/websites will be easily sharable and easily included in meetings. They will offer complex options such as imbedded logic and yet be easy to author, search and view. These documents will be readable from a browser, but the experience will be infinitely better if read, annotated or presented with our tools.
    Social communication (meetings, events, gathering, sharing and communicating). Social communications are time-intensive, high-value scenarios that are ripe for digital re-imagination. Such innovation will include new ways to participate in work meetings, PTA and nonprofit activities, family and social gatherings, and more. We can reimagine email and other communication vehicles as the lines between these vehicles grow fuzzy, and the amount of people’s digital or digitally assisted interaction continues to grow. We can create new ways to interact through hardware, software and new services. Next-gen documents and expression are an important part of online social communications. We will not focus on becoming another social network for people to participate in casually, though some may use these products and services that way.
    Next-generation decision-making and task completion. Our machine learning infrastructure will understand people’s needs and what is available in the world, and will provide information and assistance. We will be great at anticipating needs in people’s daily routines and providing insight and assistance when they need it. When it comes to life’s most important tasks and events, we will pay extra attention. The research done, the data collected and analyzed, the meetings and discussions had, and the money spent are all amplified for people during life’s big moments. We will provide the tools people need to capture their own data and organize and analyze it in conjunction with the massive amount of data available over the Web. Bing, Excel and our InfoNav innovations are all important here. Decision-making and tasks mean different things in personal versus professional lives, yet they are important in both places.
    Serious fun. This expression may sound like an oxymoron, yet it encapsulates an important point of differentiation for us. There are many things people do for light fun, for example play solitaire, spend three minutes on a word game or surf the TV. Although we will enable these activities effectively, our biggest opportunity is in creating the fun people feel most intensely, such as playing a game that lasts hours and takes real concentration, or immersing them in live events and entertainment (including sports, concerts, education and fitness) while allowing interactive participation. Interactivity takes engagement and makes things serious; it really requires differentiated hardware, apps and services. People want to participate at home and on the go, and in gatherings with others. We see a unique opportunity to make experiencing events with others more exciting with interactivity. We also see opportunity in fitness and health because, for many, this is serious fun much more than it is a task.
  6. Meanwhile Samsung commercially launched next-generation wearable devices on April 11, 2014:

    Samsung Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo
    [they were introduced at MWC 2014 in Barcelona]
    The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo have taken wearable technology to the next level acting as an extension of a consumer’s daily life with integrated fitness applications, a standalone music player, remote control feature and compatibility with a wide variety of Samsung devices. Both devices offer a slim, lightweight design in a mere 10 mm thickness. The 2-megapixel autofocus camera is now on the bezel, so you can change the strap (Charcoal Black, Gold Brown and Wild Orange options) to match your mood or outfit. The Gear 2 is currently available in charcoal Black, gold Brown and the newly added wild Orange, while the Gear 2 Neo comes in charcoal Black, mocha Gray and wild Orange.

    When paired with a GALAXY smartphone, the Gear 2 allows you to receive or ignore incoming calls and messages, and provides instant notifications. You can also control a TV or settop box via the WatchON Remote application and IrLED sensor, and listen to music via a Bluetooth headset.

    The next generation of Gear devices: Samsung Gear 2 with increased connectivity, customization and control, and Gear Fit that blends style, fitness and convenience.

    Samsung Gear Fit [it was introduced at MWC 2014 in Barcelona]
    The Gear Fit is the perfect blend of style, fitness and convenience for a wearable device like no other. Featuring the industry’s first curved Super AMOLED display; the superior connectivity benefits of Samsung’s wearable technology with custom, real time fitness coaching provides personalized advice and workout recommendations. The Gear Fit keeps you up to date with instant notifications when paired with a GALAXY smartphone, lets you change straps and customize display themes, so you can express your individual style. The Gear Fit is currently available in charcoal Black, mocha Gray, and wild Orange, as well as the newly added supreme Red, cobalt Blue and vital Green.

    All the new Gear devices (Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo and Gear Fit) come with a built-in heart rate sensor and real-time fitness coaching. They are also dust and water resistant (IP67), so you don’t have to worry when you are out and about.

  7. The Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo next-gen Samsung smartwatches are based on the new Tizen OS, on the Tizen Wearable Platform version of it, and Samsung released the v1 of Tizen SDK for Wearables on March 17, 2014. With it the active Tizen app developer community will “provide users with enhanced wearable experiences for fitness, shopping, social media, music, news, and sleep management”. In addition the new Samsung Mobile SDK 1.5 introduced at MWC 2014 in Barcelona provided a new Accessory Package for communicating between the Host-side Application and Wearable-side Widget (developed with Tizen SDK for Wearable). With all that Samsung is now offering the following types of Gear applications:
    image
    In fact the Accessory capability is meant to be a very general architecture for connecting various accessory devices to Samsung smart devices (phones, tablets etc.), and thus it is providing the underpinning for a whole “Samsung Accessory Eco-system” under development by the company:
    image

    Samsung smart devices are equipped with the Samsung Accessory framework, which supports various accessory services. Accessory devices use the framework to interwork with Samsung smart devices.

    The Accessory package provides a single protocol that supports multiple connectivity technologies, such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth classic, and BLE (Bluetooth v4.0). The Samsung Accessory framework supports service discovery that is independent of the connectivity technology, and establishes connections between applications for data exchange. You need no technical knowledge of each connectivity model to develop Accessory services.

    Accessory devices communicate with Samsung smart devices through the various connectivity channels supported by the devices. Samsung smart devices can be connected to many accessory devices to implement services in applications. Connection between the Samsung smart device and an accessory allows the accessory device to offer more with the functions supported by the Samsung smart device.”

  8. Samsung also developed a wearable only connectivity architecture with its smart devices. Gear Fit is the first implementation of that. On the wearable device only Samsung provided widgets are available for creating the Gear Fit UI and controlled with commands initiated on the Gear Fit application host, a Galaxy phone or tablet, i.e. an Android application. The Samsung provided Gear Fit SDK is essentially providing another Samsung Mobile SDK 1.5 package called CUP (Companion UI Profile), and on the Gear Fit there is a CUP Browser containing a CUP Service that translates the commands from the CUP host. For connectivity here only Bluetooth is used.
    imageThe company is also using a specially developed real-time operating system (RTOS) on the wearable device here. “It’s a much simpler OS, and it helps us keep the battery life three to four days whereas Gear 2 is [about] two days,” Seshu Madhavapeddy, senior vice president of product and technology at Samsung Telecommunications America, told CNET. Gear Fit and other wearables like it could also have a much better response time to events, the memory and processing power requirements will be less than it would be in the case of Tizen-based devices (like the Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo), and consequently the devices could also be much lighter.

    Gear Fit has a weight of 27g while the Gear 2 is 68g and the Gear 2 Neo is 55g. Gear 2 (as well as Gear 2 Neo) has a dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 based Samsung Exynos 3250 SoC running at 1GHz (specs are not public yet) paired with an ARM Cortex-M4 based STMicroelectronics STM32F401B microcontroller SoC running at 84MHz. (Note that this is for downloading the control for heart rate and motion sensor functionalities to this very low-power CPU from the main SoC, and thus conserving a lot of battery power). Meanwhile Gear Fit has a single SoC, the ARM Cortex-M4 based STM32F439ZIY6S microcontroller from STMicroelectronics running at 180MHz. Also this microcontroller has a 256KB SRAM and 2MB flash memory on the chip itself, while for the Gear 2 devices the 512KB DRAM and 4GB flash memories are off the Exynos SoC. (For details about these devices see the Introducing Samsung Gear, Samsung Unpacked 2014 Episode 1 [Feb 24, 2014] presentation.)


III. THE SAMSUNG GEAR FIT WEARABLE SOLUTION

Samsung Gear Fit – Official TVC (Design) [Samsung Mobile YouTube channel, April 14, 2014]

    • Wearable innovation is here to change the way you live.
    • Introducing the world’s first curved Super AMOLED display on a wearable device.
    • Receive texts, emails, meeting notifications, and reject calls right from your wrist.
    • Be in tune with your body with the built-in heart rate sensor, and stay fit with a real-time coaching assistant.
    • To find out more about Samsung Gear Fit, click here:
      http://www.samsung.com/global/microsite/gear/gearfit_features.html

image

Samsung UNPACKED 2014 Episode 1 [Feb 25, 2014] “Stay in shape with Gear Fit”:

As the world’s first curved Super AMOLED wearable device, the Samsung Gear Fit is ready to revolutionise the way you exercise. It features a 1.84-inch touch screen, changeable straps and instant notifications for incoming calls, emails, texts and much more. However, what makes the Gear Fit so life-changing is its built-in fitness manager. This includes a Heart Rate Sensor and real-time fitness coaching, and is the perfect companion for anyone looking to keep a close eye on their wellbeing. Add to this the enhanced connectivity – now compatible with up to 20** Galaxy devices via the new Tizen OS – and you really do have the smartest fitness band.

** Note that as of April 27, 2014 Samsung Gear Fit (as well as Gear 2 and Gear 2 Neo) is compatible with 18 types of device models : Samsung Galaxy S5 / Galaxy Grand 2 / Galaxy Note 3 / Galaxy Note 3 Neo / Galaxy Note 2 / Galaxy S4 / Galaxy S3 / Galaxy S4 Zoom / Galaxy S4 Active / Galaxy S4 mini / Galaxy Mega 6.3 / Galaxy Mega 5.8 / Galaxy Note 10.1 (2014 Edition) / Galaxy NotePRO (12.2) / Galaxy TabPRO (12.2/10.1/8.4) – Compatible device models to be further expanded.

So let’s see first Samsung Gear Fit Features Overview – Feature Focus [Android Authority YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2014]

The Samsung Gear Fit is a hybrid of a smartwatch and a fitness band – and here are the things it can do.

and then Samsung Gear Fit Review [Android Authority YouTube channel, April 17, 2014]

Samsung’s foray into the world of fitness bands brings some smartwatch capabilities along for the ride. But is everything we hoped it would be? Josh Reviews the Samsung Fit Gear.

Then have a look at the internals (teardown):

image

image

image

imageimage

  • 1.84” Curved Super AMOLED touchscreen display (432 x 128 pixels)
  • 180 MHz ARM Cortex-M4 CPU
  • Accelerometer, gyroscope, and heart rate sensor (an optical one, see right:)
  • Battery good for 3-4 days of normal use
  • Bluetooth 4.0 LE

image

See The Samsung Gear Teardown Review (Gear 2 and Gear Fit!) [iFixit Video YouTube channel, April 11, 2014], for the Gear Fit starting at [2:45]:

Hot on the heels of Samsung’s latest flagship phone the Galaxy s5 turn on our teardown table, we are turning our attention to the wearables, the Galaxy Gear 2 and the Galaxy Gear fit. Lets take a look inside and tear them down! Check out the full teardown at iFixit http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Samsung+Gear+Fit+Teardown/24029

Gear has a special USB charging solution as shown below:

image

 

Gear Fit development:

From Samsung Developer Day 2014 at MWC – Keynote

[19:51] The easiest way to think about the Gear Fit that it’s an extended screen from your Android application running on a Galaxy phone or tablet. [20:02]

From Samsung Developer Day 2014 at MWC – Samsung Gear SDK session

image
[20:00] … Gear Fit [Android] Application Structure … [27:30]

From Develop Apps for Samsung Gear 2, Gear 2 Neo, and Gear Fit [Samsung Tomorrow, Feb 27, 2014]

Samsung released the Gear Fit SDK for Gear Fit exclusive apps. The major difference between Gear 2 SDK and the Gear Fit SDK is that Gear 2 apps can be standalone apps developed through Web platforms, whereas Gear Fit would require 2 different kinds of app and Android OS

More specifically, a Gear Fit app needs to have a host app for the device that needs to be developed with Android and Gear Fit exclusive, whereas Gear Fit SDK has two parts: the host app and the CUP (Companion UI Profile) browser. Gear Fit SDK allows you to easily control wearable devices (CUP browser) by using Android device (Host) which is connected in the Bluetooth environment. The host of Gear Fit SDK has two elements: API that can control 12 different kinds of widgets through CUP Browser and the Host application developed by the developers with the Gear Fit SDK.

CUP Browser consists of Service for Gear Fit, which receives the command then translates, and the Widget of Gear Fit, which receives the translation to display it on the screen then transfer the UI event to the CUP Host. There are about 12 kinds of CUP widget and Samsung plans to increase the number.

From Samsung Mobile SDKCUP (Companion UI Profile) [Feb 25, 2014]

What Is CUP?

CUP (Companion UI Profile) allows you to control wearable devices (Gear Fit) using an Android device (CUP host). The CUP Browser and host are connected with Bluetooth.

CUP provides over 12 winset types, which you can display on wearable devices of various resolution types. You can also get user interaction events from the winset to appear on the wearable device screen.

image

You can use the CUP package to provide the following winset types to wearable devices:

image

CUP Technology

The purpose of CUP is to provide interaction between a hosting Android device and its wearable CUP Browsers.

  • CUP host consists of the host application created with the CUP SDK, and the classes that control more than 12 winsets on a CUP Browser.
  • CUP Browser contains a CUP Service that translates the commands from the CUP host. The CUP winset displays the commands on the CUP Browser and sends user events from the UI back to the CUP host.

image

The CUP process functions as follows:

  • The host application sends a command to the CUP browser requiring the Browser to display a certain winset.
  • The CUP Browser displays the winset.
  • After the user interacts with the winset, the Browser sends the user event back to the host application, which can proceed to the next step.

image

Using CUP, you can save the user’s Bluetooth bandwidth and make various UI effects available at the same time. Because CUP processes add very little weight to devices, you can apply it to various products, such as consumer electronics, flight information services, and screenless devices.

Restrictions

CUP has the following restrictions:

  • Devices with Android 4.3 Jelly Bean (API level 18) or higher support CUP.
  • CUP requires minimum 1GB of RAM.

    [on the CUP host obviously as the Gear Fit has only 256KB S-RAM (within the STM32F439ZIY6S chip)]

From Samsung Mobile SDKRemote Sensor [Feb 25, 2014]

What Is Remote Sensor?

Remote Sensor allows you to collect remote sensor data, such as a pedometer data, user activity events and wearing state, from a wearable device, which has a variety of sensors, for example, accelerometer and gyroscope. Your applications that run on the host device and use the Remote Sensor package can include, for example, health care and life logging features. Remote Sensor gets the sensor data through Bluetooth communication.

image

You can use the Remote Sensor package to:

  • Get user activity data from the wearable device
    When the user of a wearable device starts running or walking, the application on the host device can be notified.
  • Get pedometer data from the wearable device
    The application on the host device can get the user’s step count.
  • Get the state whether the user wears wearable device or not
    The application on the host device can get the user’s wearing state for the wearable device.

Getting User Activity Data

With Remote Sensor, your application on the host device can get the state of the user activity from the wearable device. For example, when the user starts running or walking with the wearable device, the remote sensor notifies your application. When the user changes their activity, the remote sensor notifies you again, after 4 ~ 5 seconds (about 8 footsteps).

Getting Pedometer Data

You can set your application to get pedometer data (the step count from the wearable device. If you register an event listener for the wearable device’s pedometer, you can get the accumulated pedometer data from the start of the day (00h:00m:00s) till the current time. You can get the pedometer data every 5 minutes.

Getting Wearing State Data

With Remote Sensor, you can check whether the user is wearing a wearable device. If you register an event listener for the wearable device’s wear state sensor, you can get the current state once and you do not have to unregister the listener. You get the data in about 1 second after you register the listener.

Remote Sensor Service

The Remote Sensor application requires the Remote Sensor Service (illustrated in the following figure), which is a separate service with no GUI. The Remote Sensor Service requires the Gear Manager (or Gear Fit Manager) for Bluetooth communication with wearable devices. The Remote Sensor Service is packaged in the SDK and also can be updated through App stores, such as Samsung Apps.

image

Restrictions

Remote Sensor has the following restrictions:

  • Devices with Android 4.3 (Jelly Bean API level 18) or higher support Remote Sensor.
  • Remote Sensor only supports Bluetooth connections. Support for BLE (Bluetooth Low Energy)*** will be added in a future release.
  • The supported devices are Samsung wearable devices (such as Gear Series and Gear Fit). Gear 1 (Android OS) is not supported.
*** Note that Samsung Gear Fit uses Bluetooth® v4.0 LE for connectivity, so the Remote Sensor possibility for the Gear Fit will be available in the future.


IV. COMPONENT LEVEL DETAILS

Only the following key components are considered here:

  1. The STM32F439ZIY6S High-performance Microcontroller of the STM32 F4 Series MCUs from STMicroelectronics
  2. The MPU-6500 Six-Axis (Gyro + Accelerometer) MEMS MotionTracking™ Devices from InvenSense (marked as MP65M)
  3. BCM4334WKUBG Single-Chip Dual-Band Combo Device Supporting 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0+HS & FM Receiver from Broadcom

1. The STM32F439ZIY6S High-performance Microcontroller of the
STM32 F4 Series MCUs from STMicroelectronics

imageThe STM32F4 Series [Feb 17, 2013] Microcontrollers (MCUs) from STMicroelectronics

The STM32F439 was announced (along with STM32F429, both as sampling) a week before the Embedded World 2013 (Feb 26-28, 2013). Here is a video about that:

… “for customers who want to use .NET Micro Framework or a Java framework” … “targeting general purpose applications but also new ones with graphics” … “we also improved the power consumption now reaching 100 µA at 25°C” …

There is also a video about Java in Embedded – IS2T & STMicroelectronics (EW 2013).

From STMicroelectronics Energizes High-Performance Embedded Development Ecosystem for STM32F4 Microcontrollers [press release, Sept 12, 2013]


The high-performance STM32F429/439 series [announced in February 2013] now entering production has the industry’s highest-performing ARM® Cortex™-M4 core, at 180MHz, able to achieve 225DMIPS (Dhrystone MIPS) and 608 CoreMark (EEMBC Coremark benchmark) scores using industry-standard performance metrics thanks to the ST adaptive real-time accelerator (ART Accelerator) allowing zero-wait execution from Flash. These devices offer up to 2Mbyte of dual-bank Flash allowing safe system upgrades in the field, ST’s unique Chrom-ART Accelerator™ giving customers a competitive edge in graphics processing, and an integrated TFT-LCD controller.

The STM32F427/437 series [announced in November 2012 with the 168MHz core which entered full production in February 2013] is also entering full production, upgraded with the 180MHz core, dual-bank memory, and other features of the STM32F429/439 excluding the TFT-LCD controller.

Also entering volume production is the STM32F401 microcontroller announced in April 2013. The device balances high performance (105 DMIPS and 285 CoreMark, and zero-wait Flash execution with the ART Accelerator), power efficiency and high feature integration in packages as small as 3x3mm.

A year later, at the Embedded World 2014 (Feb 25–27, 2014), STMicroelectronics was touting smartwatch (with STM32L or STM32F429) and hub (with STM32F401) applications within their now completed Internet of Things (IoT) portfolio as follows in the video below:

STMicroelectronics talked about how they drive Internet of Things growth with the wide range of STM32 products include Low Power MCU, MEMS, and sensor hubs, etc.

Note also the new STM32 Nucleo Development Board and STM32Cube.

This all started much earlier back to 2010 for both the Cortex-M4 and the STM32 F4 series:
– launch of Cortex-M4 by ARM in February 2010: “has been licensed by five leading MCU semiconductor companies including NXP, STMicroelectronics and Texas Instruments
“The Cortex-M4 processor extends the use of Cortex-M cores to applications requiring intensive mathematical computation,” said Semir Haddad, 32-bit MCU Marketing Manager of ST Microcontroller division. “A product line based on the Cortex-M4 processor will complement our line of STM32 microcontrollers, giving our customers the ability to combine the scalability of STM32 with enhanced signal processing capability.”
– regarding the general idea about this type of cores here is an explanatory video: 
ARM Cortex-M for Wearables and IoT [Charbax YouTube channel, March 15, 2014]
ARM Cortex-M Marketing Manager Diya Soubra talks Wearables and Internet of Things using ARM Cortex-M processor family. The ARM Cortex-M is a group of 32-bit ARM processor cores intended for microcontroller use, consists of the Cortex-M0, Cortex-M0+, Cortex-M1, Cortex-M3, Cortex-M4. The ARM Cortex-M processor family is an upwards compatible range of energy-efficient, easy to use processors designed to help developers meet the needs of tomorrow’s embedded applications. Those demands include delivering more features at a lower cost, increasing connectivity, better code reuse and improved energy efficiency. The Cortex-M family is optimized for cost and power sensitive MCU and mixed-signal devices for end applications such as smart metering, human interface devices, automotive and industrial control systems, white goods, consumer products and medical instrumentation. ARM Cortex-M processors is a global microcontroller standard, having been licensed to over 40 ARM partners including leading vendors such as Freescale, NXP Semiconductors, STMicroelectronics, Texas Instruments, and Toshiba. Using a standard processor allows ARM partners to create devices with a consistent architecture while enabling them to focus on creating superior device implementations.
– first Cortex-M4 SoC launch in Q3’11: “STMicroelectronics launched a high-speed Cortex-M4 based MCU for electric motor control and medical applications
STM32 F4 – World’s highest performance MCU [STonlineMedia YouTube channel, March 16, 2012]
STMicroelectronics’ STM32 F4 series of high-performance Cortex™-M4 MCUs featuring DSP and FPU instructions, reaching up to 210 DMIPS.
STMicroelectronics Launches World’s Most Powerful Cortex Processor-based Microcontrollers [press release via PRnewswire, Sept 21, 2011]
… This extension to the STM32® platform is based on the latest ARM® Cortex™-M4 core, which adds signal-processing capabilities and faster operations to the already outstanding portfolio of STM32 microcontrollers; the new series, which is available now, reinforces ST’s leadership and claims the title of highest-performance Cortex-M processor-based microcontroller range in the market(1).
The STM32 range is the industry’s most successful family of 32-bit ARM Cortex-M processor-based microcontrollers, with nearly one of every two units shipped being a member of the STM32 family(2). Beyond addressing a wide range of applications with the existing STM32 portfolio including metering, medical services, point of sales (POS), building security and automation, home audio, and others, ST is further widening its target applications with the STM32 F4 series. The single-cycle DSP instructions of the STM32 F4 open the doors to the digital signal controller (DSC) market that requires high computational capability and DSP instructions for demanding applications such as high-end motor control, medical equipment and security.

Claude Dardanne, Executive Vice President and General Manager Microcontrollers, Memories and Secure MCUs Group, “With more than 250 compatible devices already in production, the industry’s best development ecosystem, and outstanding power consumption and overall functionality, the F4 family is the cherry at the top of the STM32 family of Cortex-M processor-based MCUs, which now includes four product series: the STM32 F1 series, the STM32 F2 series and the STM32 L1 series, all based on the Cortex™-M3 processor, and the new F4 Series, based on the Cortex-M4 processor.”

Beyond offering pin-to-pin and software compatible with the high-performance F2 series, the F4 series operates at a higher frequency (168 MHz instead of 120 MHz), offers single-cycle DSP instruction support and a Floating Point Unit, larger SRAM (192 Kbytes vs. 128 Kbytes), embedded flash memory from 512 Kbytes up to 1 Mbyte, and advanced peripherals for imaging, connectivity and encryption. ST’s 90nm CMOS process technology and the integrated ST Adaptive Real Time “ART Accelerator” deliver state-of-the-art performance, with zero-wait-state program execution up to 168 MHz, and best-in-class dynamic power.(3)

The STM32 F4 Series is available in four variants:
STM32F405x: …
STM32F407 products add several advanced peripherals to the ones offered on the STM32F405 products: …
The STM32F415 and STM32F417 parts add a crypto/hash processor to the STM32F405 and STM32F407. This crypto/hash processor includes hardware acceleration for AES 128, 192, 256, Triple DES, HASH (MD5, SHA-1). As an example of the performance achieved by the crypto/hash processor, the AES-256 encryption throughput reaches up to 149.33 Mbytes/s.
All variations are in volume production, with prices beginning from $5.74 for the STM32F407VET6 with 512 Kbytes of Flash and 192 Kbytes RAM in the LQFP100 package, for orders of more than 1,000 units.
(1) 363 Coremark score and 210 DMIPS
(2) 45% market share accumulated 2007-Q1 2011 period, according to ARM Cortex-M unit shipments reporting
(3) 38.6 mA at 168 MHz executing Coremark benchmark from Flash memory with peripherals disabled
STM32 F4 series World’s highest performance [STonlineMedia YouTube channel, Jan 6, 2012]
STM32 F4 tutorial – High-performance Cortex-M MCU 168 MHz/210 DMIPS, with floating point unit (FPU)

imageMore presentation information:
STM32 F4 series High-performance Cortex™-M4 MCU [Sept 26, 2011]

More technical details about the latest products first in this video STMicroelectronics High Performance MCUs (EW 2014) [ARMflix YouTube channel, Feb 26, 2014]

ST introduced two new product lines of its High Performance MCUs at EW 2014. The 1st is STM32 F429 which is based on Cortex-M4 processor running at 180 MHz CPU/225 DMIPS, up to 2 Mbytes of dual-bank flash adding an LCD-TFT controller.

The other one is STM32 F401 microcontroller which is the first in a new range of STM32 Dynamic Efficiency devices [launched with Powerful STM32F4 Microcontrollers Launch New Generation of STM32 Dynamic Efficiency™ Devices from STMicroelectronics [press release, Jan 29, 2014] ] offering the performance of the Cortex-M4 core (with floating point unit) running at 84 MHz while reaching outstanding power [consumption] figures in Run and Stop modes.

Then even more at: STM32F4 Series, STM32F429/439 [Nov 13, 2013], STM32F439ZI
and STM32 F4 series – High-performance CortexTM-M4 MCUs [brochure, Feb 14, 2014]

The STM32F429/439 lines are designed for medical, industrial and consumer applications where the high level of integration and performance, embedded memories and peripherals inside packages as small as 5 x 5.1 mm are required. The STM32F429/439 lines offer the performance of the Cortex®-M4 core (with floating point unit) running at 180 MHz while reaching lower static power consumption (Stop mode) versus STM32F405/415/407/F417.

Power efficiency: ST’s 90 nm process, ART Accelerator and the dynamic power scaling enables the current consumption in run mode and executing from Flash memory [i.e. with peripherals off] to be as low as 260 µA/MHz at 180 MHz. In Stop mode, the power consumption is 100 µA typical, which is 3 times lower versus STM32F405/415/407/F417.

Integration: The STM32F429 and STM32F439 portfolio provides from 512-Kbyte dual-bank Flash to 2-Mbyte dual-bank Flash, 256-Kbyte SRAM and from 100 to 216 pins in packages as small as 5 x 5.1 mm. With such memory integration, the need for external memory is reduced, allowing smaller, safer and low-emission PCB designs.

image


2. The MPU-6500 Six-Axis (Gyro + Accelerometer) MEMS MotionTracking™ Devices from InvenSense (marked as MP65M)

MPU-6500 Six-Axis (Gyro + Accelerometer) MEMS MotionTracking™ Devices [July 10, 2012] for Smart Phones, Tablets, Wearable Sensors, Remotes, Pedestrian Navigation, and Sports & Fitness Tracking

Overview

imageThe MPU-6500 is the company’s second generation 6-axis MotionTracking device for smartphones, tablets, wearable sensors , and other consumer markets. The MPU-6500, delivered in a 3x3x0.9mm QFN package, is the world’s smallest 6-axis MotionTracking device and incorporates the latest InvenSense design innovations for MEMS gyroscopes and accelerometers, enabling dramatically reduced chip size and power consumption, while at the same time improving performance and cost. The new MPU-6500 addresses the market requirements for high performance applications such as pedestrian navigation, context-aware advertising, and other location-based services, along with supporting the specifications for emerging wearable sensor applications such as remote health monitoring, sports and fitness tracking, and other consumer applications. The MPU-6500 MotionTracking device sets a new benchmark for 6-axis performance with nearly 60% lower power, a 45% smaller package, industry-leading consumer gyroscope performance, and major improvements in accelerometer noise, bias, and sensitivity.

The single-chip MPU-6500 integrates a 3-axis accelerometer, a 3-axis gyroscope, and an onboard Digital Motion Processor™ (DMP) in a small 3x3x0.9mm QFN package. The new 6-axis device is the world’s first motion sensor to operate at 1.8 volts and consumes only 6.1mW of power in full operating mode; it incorporates breakthrough gyroscope performance of only ±5dps zero-rate-output and 0.01dps/√Hz of noise; and delivers dramatically improved accelerometer specifications including a typical offset of only ±60mg, 250µg/√Hz of noise, and only 18µA of current in low-power mode.

The MPU-6500 software drivers are fully compliant with Google’s latest Android 4.1 Jelly Bean release, and support new low-power DMP capabilities that offload the host processor to reduce power consumption and simplify application development. The MPU-6500 includes MotionFusion and run-time calibration firmware enables consumer electronics manufacturers to commercialize cost effective motion-based functionality.

MPU-6500 System Diagram

image

From the MPU-6500 Product Specification Revision 1.1 [March  5, 2014]

image
MPU-6500 Block Diagram

InvenSense MotionProcessing™ Technology Demo [InvenSense Inc. YouTube channel, March 12, 2010]

This video demo from InvenSense features the MPU-3000™, a revolutionary MEMS-based motion processing technology for next generation mobile handset. The MPU-3000 combines the worlds first 3-axis gyroscope with an embedded digital motion processor designed exclusively for mobile handsets to enable sophisticated features such as MotionCommand™, TouchAnywhere™, and AirSign™ in smartphones.

Optical Image Stabilization for Smartphones [InvenSense, July 13, 2010]

We define MotionProcessing™ as detecting, measuring, synthesizing, analyzing and digitizing an object’s motion in three-dimensional space. The illustration below shows how a smartphone moves in 3D space, either by rotating around or moving along any of its three principle axes. By attaching motion sensors, such as a three-axis gyroscope and a three-axis accelerometer, the smartphone’s movement can be accurately tracked. The gyroscope tracks the rotation of the smartphone as it tilts forward or backward (pitch), turns from portrait to landscape (yaw) and twists from side to side (roll), while the accelerometer measures the linear movement of the smartphone as it moves up or down (y-axis), left or right (x-axis) and toward or away from the user (z-axis). The analog data from the gyroscope and accelerometer can be digitized and synthesized using complex algorithms to support motion-based user interfaces and other applications, such as motion-based video games and on-screen menu navigation.
imageWe have developed a proprietary, MotionProcessing platform that offers our customers an intelligent, integrated scalable solution that is comprised of several fundamental elements: our MEMS- based motion sensors and their companion mixed-signal ICs, embedded Digital Motion Processors™ (DMP) that combine digital outputs from multiple motion sensors to provide more accurate motion tracking functionality, which we refer to as MotionFusion™, and our MotionApps™ platform that allow our customers or their software developers to create applications using our MotionProcessing solutions. To promote faster adoption and time to market for our customers, we provide application programming interfaces and pre-configured application functionalities, such as gesture recognition, which we refer to as MotionApps software. As a result of our modular and scalable platform architecture, our current and planned products span increasing levels of integration, from standalone single-chip consumer-grade gyroscopes to fully integrated multi-sensor, multi-axis digital motion processing solutions. We currently sell three-axis gyroscopes that accept input from external accelerometers to provide a complete six-axis MotionFusion output. The diagram below illustrates the fundamental elements of our platform.

InvenSense MotionProcessing™ Platform

image

The core of our MotionProcessing platform is comprised of our proprietary MEMS-based motion sensors that provide the functionality required to measure analog motion signals. The high performance of our sensors is enabled by our Nasiri-Fabrication process. Through our DMP, the analog signals from our sensors are converted into digital signals and are intelligently assimilated and analyzed through our embedded MotionFusion technology. Our solution also includes a software abstraction layer, which includes our MotionApps™ platform and Application Programming Interfaces (API), that utilize the output of our DMP to enable system designers to use the sensor data in their applications without the need to understand analog sensor output and develop related MotionProcessing algorithms. Finally, our MotionProcessing solutions provide system designers pre-configured MotionApps software to enable motion-based interfaces and speed their time to market, as well as ease the process of integrating our MotionProcessing solutions in their systems.

image

See also InvenSense® Technology [InvenSense, May 11, 2012] which is copied in the very end of this post as well.


3. BCM4334WKUBG Single-Chip Dual-Band Combo Device Supporting 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0+HS & FM Receiver from Broadcom

Note that only Bluetooth 4.0 LE functionality is definitely used in the Gear Fit device. There is no information whether the device has an FM radio receiver or not.

From Broadcom Announces New Combo Chips – BCM4334, BCM43241, Shows 802.11ac Once More [AnandTech, Feb 28, 2012]

… the combo chip space … is hugely important for both smartphones, tablets, and other form factors usually driven by ARM SoCs. Combo chips traditionally deliver WLAN, Bluetooth, and FM connectivity, and recently a few more air interfaces have joined the fray. The main players in the smartphone combo chip market have been Broadcom with their BCM4325, BCM4329, and BCM4330 parts, TI with their WiLink series, and newcomer Qualcomm Atheros.

BCM4334 changes from a 65nm process to 40nm LP, which itself offers a power profile reduction. The change isn’t a simple die shrink either, Broadcom says it has worked on and refined the existing BCM4330 design and reduced power a further 40-50% and dramatically reduced standby power by 3 orders of magnitude. I asked Broadcom to give me a realistic estimate of power consumption – BCM4330 in full Rx mode consumes around 68mA, BCM4334 consumes 36mA at the same voltage, just to give an example of the reduction. …

BCM4334 Single-Chip Dual-Band Combo Device Supporting 802.11n, Bluetooth 4.0+HS & FM Receiver [Broadcom, Feb 15, 2012]

The Broadcom BCM4334 single-chip dual-band combo chip provides a complete wireless connectivity system with ultra-low power consumption for mass market smartphone devices. Using advanced design techniques and 40nm process technology to reduce active and idle power, the BCM4334 is designed to address the needs of highly mobile devices that require minimal power consumption and compact size while delivering dual-band Wi-Fi connectivity.

The chip includes IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n single-stream MAC/baseband/radio, Bluetooth 4.0 + HS, and an integrated FM radio receiver. It is designed to be used with external 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz front-end modules, which include power amplifiers, T/R switches and optional low noise amplifiers. The combo device also features advanced switching techniques that enable concurrent dual-band operation to simultaneously support network connectivity with one band while also allowing content streaming via technologies such as Wi-Fi Display and Wi-Fi Direct.

The advanced architecture supports the latest “always on always connected” (AOAC) applications such as push e-mail or Internet radio services, even while the host smartphone is in sleep modes, further preserving battery life. The BCM4334 also includes a power management unit, which simplifies the system power topology and allows for operation directly from a mobile platform battery while maximizing battery life.

Features

  • Dual-band 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity
  • Single-stream IEEE 802.11n support for 20 MHz and 40 MHz channels provides PHY layer rates up to 150 Mbps for typical upper-layer throughput in excess of 90 Mbps
  • Supports the IEEE 802.11n STBC (space-time block coding) and LDPC (low-density parity check) options for improved range and power efficiency
  • Complies with Bluetooth Core Specification Version 4.0 + HS with provisions for supporting future specifications
  • Bluetooth Class 1 transmitter operation

Broadcom shows a demonstration of Bluetooth 4.0 technology. [Broadcom YouTube channel, Jan 14, 2011]

What is Bluetooth 4.0? It’s the latest spec from the Bluetooth SIG using Bluetooth but in a low-energy fashion. With Bluetooth 4.0 you can use watch batteries in devices and those devices would last up to 2 years. In the example Ron demonstrates, we see someone taking a blood pressure reading and from that blood pressure monitor that data is transmitted to a PC and on to the Doctor or healthcare provider, which saves time and money.

Other use cases for Bluetooth 4.0 include health and fitness. In the fitness market you could use Bluetooth 4.0 in a heart rate monitor or a pedometer, devices that would use watch batteries, and that data could be simply uploaded to your PC or to your phone.

At Broadcom we are constantly developing wireless, and other, technologies to make your life easier.

New Combo Chips from Broadcom Accelerate Transition to Dual-Band Wi-Fi for Mainstream Smartphones and Tablets [press release, Feb 15, 2012]

802.11n Dual-Band Wireless Connectivity Meets the Needs of Mainstream Devices as Performance Products Move to 5G WiFi

News Highlights:

  • 2×2 MIMO Wi-Fi technology provides whole-home, high bandwidth connections ideal for video intensive tablet applications
  • 40nm CMOS manufacturing process and lower power architecture deliver longer smartphone battery life
  • Integration of Bluetooth 4.0 and FM radio round out the most advanced wireless connectivity solutions for mainstream tablets and smartphones

Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ: BRCM), a global innovation leader in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications, today announced two new dual-band combo chips optimized to provide whole-home, high speed Wi-Fi for tablet computers and the benefits of concurrent dual-band connectivity for smart phones.

Both of these new chips are manufactured in a 40nm process and employ the most advanced power management techniques, thereby significantly increasing battery life in products that use them. While the high end of the market is expected to adopt 5G WiFi, these chips move the bar for mid- and low-tier devices, bringing a cost effective dual-band implementation to smartphones and an equally cost effective dual stream solution to tablets.

Smartphones and tablets continue to grow in popularity among mainstream consumers and are increasingly being used for sharing content, multiplayer gaming and watching high definition video. Features such as Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Display often use the 5GHz frequency band, making dual-band operation essential in portable products.  In addition, operating systems like Android and Windows are enabling more sophisticated applications on these devices, making high-speed dual-band wireless connectivity a must.

The new Broadcom® InConcert BCM43241 and BCM4334 combo chips feature advanced dual-band Wi-Fi technology that utilize both 2.4GHz and 5GHz radio channels. The BCM43241, targeted at tablets, also features dual-stream technology, utilizing two streams per channel to enable twice the throughput and better range than the current generation of products that incorporate single-stream Wi-Fi.  While dual-band Wi-Fi dramatically improves the video experience in the mainstream tier, performance smartphones and tablets are expected to further enhance these applications by adopting 5G WiFi for gigabit wireless speeds.

Both chips are currently sampling to early access partners, with full production expected in the third quarter of 2012.

Key Facts:

  • BCM43241 improves throughput and range for mainstream tablets:
    • 802.11n 2×2 MIMO technology utilizes dual transmitters and receivers to boost data rates and enable 70% greater range at high-speed than single stream Wi-Fi.
    • Optimization for the tablet form factor allows strategic placement of antennas to increase coverage and signal consistency.
    • Integrated RF power amplifiers (PAs) accommodating both the 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz frequency bands eliminate the need for external PAs, reducing bill of materials (BOM) cost.
    • Chip is industry’s first to combine MIMO Wi-Fi with Bluetooth 4.0 and FM radio on a single piece of silicon, enabling lower power and easy integration into new tablet designs.
  • BCM4334 slashes power consumption:
    • Integrated processor enables off-load of audio processing to allow stereo playback while smartphone sleeps, reducing system power consumption.
    • Industry’s first concurrent dual-band single-stream solution supports ultra-fast switching between 5GHz and 2.4GHz bands to deliver more bandwidth to multiple wireless applications.
    • Optimized architecture slashes Bluetooth and FM power needs.
  • Industry’s most complete connectivity solutions:
    • Chips include FM radio, Bluetooth 4.0 and Bluetooth Smart (Bluetooth Low Energy) support for ultra low power connectivity with health, fitness and other sensors.
    • Broadcom InConcert® technology allows the multiple radio technologies on the chips to coexist without interfering with one another for an overall more satisfying user experience.
    • 40nm CMOS manufacturing process and optimized low power architecture reduces power consumption compared to competing solutions for longer battery life.
    • Full software support available for both Android and Windows, with support for Wi-Fi Direct and Wi-Fi Display, and the richest portfolio of Bluetooth profiles available.

Quotes:

Michael Hurlston, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Wireless Local Area Networks

Broadcom Corporation

“Connectivity defines the smartphone and tablet experience. The key features and applications that are driving popularity of these devices rely upon consistent, high-speed Wi-Fi and fast wireless synchronization speeds with low power consumption. Our new chips meet these needs with combo solutions, which OEMs prefer, and will accelerate the adoption of dual-band Wi-Fi in mainstream mobile devices. With 5G WiFi gigabit wireless targeted at performance smartphones and tablets, dual-band Wi-Fi is now emerging as a ‘must-have’ for a satisfying mobile experience.”

Resources:

Broadcom Wireless LAN Products
http://www.broadcom.com/products/Wireless-LAN/802.11-Wireless-LAN-Solutions

Subscribe to Broadcom RSS Feed:
http://go.broadcom.com/sv2

About Broadcom

Broadcom Corporation (NASDAQ: BRCM), a FORTUNE 500® company, is a global leader and innovator in semiconductor solutions for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom® products seamlessly deliver voice, video, data and multimedia connectivity in the home, office and mobile environments.  With the industry’s broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip and embedded software solutions, Broadcom is changing the world by Connecting everything®. For more information, go to www.broadcom.com.


V. LEADING WEARABLE COMPONENT SUPPLIES: MCU SOCS AND SENSOR SOCS

From: IoT Era excites Semiconductor Players [Electronics Maker, May 6, 2014] I will highlight here the supplies from leading microcontroller (MCU) SoC and sensor SoC vendors as these type of components are driving the emergence of innovative wearable gadgets


Linear Technology

Microchip Technology

STMicroelectronics

[in addition to the text available with the article we should emphasize first STMicroelectronics’ undisputed leadership in the MCU SoC space:]

STM32 32-bit ARM Cortex MCUs

The STM32 family of 32‑bit Flash microcontrollers based on the ARM Cortex™‑M processor is designed to offer new degrees of freedom to MCU users. It offers a 32‑bit product range that combines high performance, real-time capabilities, digital signal processing, and low‑power, low‑voltage operation, while maintaining full integration and ease of development.

The unparalleled and large range of STM32 devices, based on an industry-standard core and accompanied by a vast choice of tools and software, makes this family of products the ideal choice, both for small projects and for entire platform decisions.

image

from the already referenced in section I. 15 Years of Smartwatch Evolution [Teardown.com, April 25, 2014]:

This blog discloses some of the key technology design wins and technologies we have documented in our wearable teardowns of four leading smartwatches, these include the Basis Science (now part of Intel) Carbon Steel Ed. B1, Pebble’s PebbleWatch, Qualcomm’s Toq, and the Samsung Galaxy Gear. It is interesting to note all four smartwatches use the STMicroelectronics ARM 32-Bit Cortex Microcontroller and have standardized on a Lithium Polymer battery module.

Figure 1 compares the four devices with the STMicrodevices M3 or M4 MCU, Frequency, Built in Flash, Built in SRAM, Package Pin count, cost of IC, Model MCU and Package size.

Figure 1: STMicroelectronics ARM 32-Bit Cortex MCU M3 or M4

image

[there is also a recent press release worth to include here as it is showing STMicroelectronics’ broad and advanced portfolio for wearables:]
STMicroelectronics Builds Wearable Technology Portfolio to Cement Market Leadership
[press release, March 11, 2014]

Wave of analog and mixed-signal devices completes full collection for wearable applications
STMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has announced a raft of analog and mixed-signal devices targeting the rapidly growing market for wearable technology.  These devices include current sensors, audio amplifiers, op amps, analog switches, and battery gas gauges enabling ST to offer the industry’s most complete set of building blocks for creating innovative wearable applications.
Wearable applications are making a growing impact in markets that range from new healthcare technologies including remote heart-rate monitoring to consumer applications such as smart fashion accessories.  These applications represent a range of current and future markets that market analysts Strategy Analytics projects to grow by more than 70% through 2017.
“In conjunction with our industry-leading range of motion and environmental sensors1 and our successes**** in a broad range of already-available wearable applications, our new2 ultra-low power microcontrollers [STM32L0 ], and our award-winning3 BlueNRG Bluetooth® Smart wireless connectivity solution, the analog and mixed-signal devices complete a comprehensive platform that makes ST the clear one-stop supplier of choice for customers developing innovative wearable applications,” said Andrea Onetti, General Manager Analog and Audio Systems Division, STMicroelectronics.
Examples of devices suitable for wearable applications include ST’s single, dual, and quad op amps, such as the OA4NP33 quad  low-power op amp, that offer an ultra-low-power typical consumption of just 580nA per channel (at 1.8V power supply), making them ideally suited for functions such as sensor signal-conditioning in battery-operated wearable devices. Another product, the GG25L gas gauge, uses a patented OptimGauge™ algorithm to monitor battery voltage to an accuracy of 0.25%.
Examples from ST’s rich portfolio of motion sensors include the LIS2DH12 ultra-low-power digital 3-axis accelerometer and the award-winning4 LSM303C ultra-compact high-performance e-compass module. ST’s M24SR dynamic tags add NFC connectivity to wearable applications for convenient wireless pairing, automatic connection to websites, or warranty-card activation.
All of the devices are available in volume from March 2014.
Click here for the high-resolution photo

**** Select previously issued press releases highlighting ST’s wearables successes:

1 Source: IHS Consumer and Mobile MEMS Market Tracker H1 2013
2 STMicroelectronics Launches New STM32 Ultra-Low-Power Microcontrollers for Consumer, Health, and Industrial Applications [press release, Feb 11, 2014] –> STM32L0 ultra-low-power microcontrollers
3 STMicroelectronics Receives Two 2014 CES Innovations Awards [press release, Nov 13, 2013] –> STM32F429/439 microcontroller (MCU) product line, STLUX385A controller IC for lighting and power management

4 LSM303C earned the Device of the Year recognition from MEMS Industry Group

[Finally I should add here a detailed presentation for STMicroelectronics’ latest MCU SoC as it is showing the reasons for its technology leadership quite well:]
Product overview – STM32 L0 series ultra-low-power ARM Cortex-M0+ (epresentation) [STonlineMedia YouTube channel, May 13, 2014]

Find out more information: http://www.st.com/stm32l0 Meet with STM32 ultra-low-power MCU ARM Cortex®-M0+ based. Discover how STMicroelectronics solution to reduce power consumption with 32-bit core

[The IoT Era excites Semiconductor Players article is actually not mentioning at all the MCU SoC offerings of the company as it mainly focuses on its sensor SoC portfolio:]

Smart Sensors

Sensors are widely used in a typical IOT system. They are also driving the emergence of innovative wearable gadgets. Some of the most popular sensors are mentioned below

a)      Accelerometer

Also called a g-sensor, accelerometer can be used to detect linear acceleration, vibration, tilt, free fall detection etc. Accelerometer is used to implement features such as horizontal levelling, antitheft, vibration alert, pedometer, remote monitoring of adults and kids etc.

b)      Gyroscope

Gyroscope measures angular velocity and used to implement features such as gaming, 3D mouse, athlete training etc.

c)      Magnetic Compass

Magnetic Compass can detect earth’s magnetic field and can give direction sense to devices. It is widely used in indoor navigation and map navigation in mobile phone.

Ultra-compact high-performance e-compass : 3D accelerometer and 3D magnetometer module

d)      Pressure Sensor

Pressure sensor can detect earth’s atmospheric pressure. This feature can be used to implement barometer and altimeter. LPS25H pressure sensor from STMicroelectronics is so accurate that it can even be used to tell the floor of building accurately. This feature can be used to implement indoor navigation, augmented reality and 3D GPS.

MEMS pressure sensor: 2.5 X 2.5 mm High Accuracy barometer

e)      Temperature and Humidity Sensor

Temperature and humidity sensor can detect temperature and humidity parameter which can be used to control the performance of devices as well as wearable gadgets.

f)       MEMS Microphone

MEMS Microphone is audio sensor that converts sound signals into electrical signals. MEMS Microphones are increasingly preferred over conventional microphones as they offer higher SNR, small form factor, digital interface, better RF immunity and high robustness against vibration.

Texas Instruments
[as TI’s approach is deeply technical aimed at the broadest “IoT-ready” portfolio I will include here—in addition to the text available with the article (which you can read following its link)—only a recent video demonstrating that:]
Innovations in IoT [Texas Instruments YouTube channel, Dec 16, 2013]

In this whiteboard video, learn how semiconductor innovation is advancing the Internet of Things to include thousands of applications and an anticipated 50 billion connected devices by 2020.

Freescale Semiconductor
[in addition to the text available with the article there is a very recent company video:]Wearables Powered by Freescale Technology: Garmin, Withings and Whistle [freescale YouTube channel, April 25, 2014]

http://www.freescale.com/wearables, http://www.warpboard.org — Freescale’s Steve Nelson and Sujata Neidig talk about the growing wearables market and look at some examples of wearables that are powered by Freescale technology including a Garmin GPS watch, Withings’ Pulse activity tracker and the Whistle activity monitor for dogs. They explore how to build wearables using the WaRP reference platform, which enables developers of wearable devices to get to market faster.

 

InvenSense, Inc.

[I will first add a video which shows the origins of the company:] Invensense Moving Beyond Wii to Smart Phones [TheStreet YouTube channel, Nov 21, 2011]

image
[Then I will add a video demonstrating some rather interesting next-gen capabilities:]
Motion Interface is the Next Transformational Technology [InvenSense Inc. YouTube channel, June 26, 2012]

Advances in MotionTracking technology has created all new Motion Interface functionalities that can enable many new user interfaces such as, performing one-to-one motion control, recognizing motion gesture commands, controlling content and function by pointing the device in any direction and or controlling menus on a smartTV by simple point and click, and finally assisting to track your location indoors.

[Only after that comes the Invensense related text from IoT Era excites Semiconductor Players article]

InvenSense Inc. is the world’s leading provider of MotionTracking(TM) sensor system on chip (SoC) and Soundsolutions for consumer electronic devices. The company’s patented InvenSense Fabrication Platform and patent-pending MotionFusion(TM) technology address the emerging needs of many mass-market consumer applications via improved performance, accuracy, and intuitive motion-, gesture- and sound-based interfaces. InvenSense technology can be found in consumer electronic products including smartphones, tablets, gaming devices, optical image stabilization, and remote controls for Smart TVs. The company’s MotionTracking products are also being integrated into a number of industrial applications.

IoT Products:

Motion Overview

Motion Tracking devices from InvenSense are rapidly becoming a key function in many consumer electronic devices including smartphones, tablets, gaming consoles, and smart TVs as it provides an intuitive way for consumers to interact with their electronic devices by tracking motion in free space and delivering these motions as input commands. Accurately tracking complex user motions requires the use of motion sensors such as gyroscopes, accelerometers, compasses, and pressure sensors, fusing the sensor outputs into a single and accurate data stream for use as input commands in consumer electronics devices, and ongoing run-time calibration to ensure an optimal user experience.

Sound Overview

InvenSense’s microphone portfolio builds on a strong heritage of industry firsts, including continuous improvement of MEMS microphone SNR, ever-higher integration levels, and even lower power consumption. Technological advances like these have enabled machine speech recognition & active noise cancellation to become commonplace in consumer devices and other applications.

Humans intuitively understand audio capture to be a critical factor in awareness of their surroundings. InvenSense is working to enable the same level of awareness for smart devices with leading-edge MEMS microphones. InvenSense combines the capability to sense audio along with cutting-edge motion detection, which is important for many contextual awareness applications.

Key Markets

Smartphones:

While many smartphones use basic motion sensing capabilities to provide tilt sensing, screen rotation and basic video gaming functionality, the latest generation of smartphones are increasingly incorporating complete Motion Tracking and Sound technology that can deliver enhanced user experiences in the areas of web, media and menu navigation. In addition, MotionTracking can provide a range of other capabilities, such as more responsive motion-based video gaming, enhanced still and video image stabilization, improved pedestrian navigation, secure authentication through gestures, as well as gesture and character shortcuts that accelerate common tasks on the device.

Tablet devices:

Similar to smartphones, early generations of tablet devices use basic motion sensing capabilities to provide tilt-sensing and screen rotation, but it is expected that newer generations of these devices will incorporate complete Motion Tracking and Sound technology to provide a wide range of motion-based capabilities.

Wearable devices:

Wearable sensors in health and fitness are a fast growing market, and an emerging opportunity for Motion Interface integration. Motion Tracking™ devices can accurately detect a range of human body motions to enable activity monitoring in fitness devices. Various innovative devices are quickly entering the market, providing a new level of personal health and fitness monitoring. With the advancement of Motion Interface technology, wearable sensors in health monitoring and sport and fitness will allow for precise tracking and monitoring of body motion as well as other sophisticated applications, providing users with new levels of valuable information.

Digital still & video cameras:

Currently, many digital still, camera phone modules, and video cameras are equipped with basic motion sensors that perform image stabilization to reduce blur caused by hand jitter. In addition to enhanced image stabilization, the inclusion of Sound technology enables digital still and video camera manufacturers to differentiate their products to address performance, size, robustness and cost considerations.

Digital television and set-top box remote controls:

Digital televisions (DTVs), set-top boxes and Blu-Ray devices are becoming increasingly more interactive through the addition of motion and Sound interfaces as well as interactive menus and applications, internet browsing, video-on-demand services and viewing of personal media content.

Video gaming:

Motion Tracking and Sound technology in console and portable video gaming devices provides an immersive video gaming experience by accurately tracking body and hand movements, and is significantly more intuitive than traditional button and joystick based interfaces.

AlwaysOn’ MotionTracking sensor system

InvenSense is in the business of creating human-like interface for consumer electronic devices to improve the consumer experience.  Part of that human-like interface is MotionTracking and it is now complemented by Sound. To support this strategy, we have introduced our ‘AlwaysOn’ MotionTracking sensor system on chip platforms at Consumer Electronic Show and Mobile World Congress this year. The ICM-20628 is targeted at the Smartphone and Tablet markets, and at approximately 2mW it is the world’s lowest power 6-axis (accelerometer + gyroscope) solution. To achieve the lowest system power and the best performance the ICM-20628 is enabled with on-chip self-calibration for continuous high performance over lifetime.

In addition to the motion sensors, InvenSense has a broad portfolio of high performance MEMS microphones which are optimized for: far-field applications, loud audio recording, ‘AlwaysOn’ contextual awareness, key word spotting, and directionality.

InvenSense: MEMS Sensors have Evolved [InvenSense Inc. YouTube channel, Feb 4, 2013]

Are Investors Ignoring InvenSense’s Potential? [The Motley Fool, May 7, 2014]

For investors, Wall Street’s short-sighted nature can be a blessing in disguise. Motion chip specialist InvenSense (NYSE: INVN ) was beaten down last week after the company missed earnings estimates for the fourth quarter as it decided to ramp up research and development initiatives. InvenSense reported earnings of just $0.07 per share, while analysts were expecting $0.10.

InvenSense is going all out to tap opportunities across several end-markets such as mobile and wearable devices. As such, the company increased R&D spending to bolster product development. However, analysts were not impressed, as they saw short-term gains instead of long-term prospects. Since InvenSense could be a key beneficiary of Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG ) Project Ara, and it could land a spot in Apple‘s (NASDAQ: AAPL ) iDevices, the recent drop has opened a window of opportunity for investors to buy more shares.

Ruling the Android universe
InvenSense is known for its motion-tracking sensors and has managed to create a solid position for itself in the Android universe. Samsung‘s (NASDAQOTH: SSNLF ) Galaxy Note 3 and Galaxy S5, Google’s Nexus 5, and Amazon’s Kindle Fire all contain InvenSense chips.

Analysts at Baird are of the opinion that InvenSense is selling a larger number of gyroscopes to Samsung for the latest flagship than originally expected. Coupled with the fact that the Galaxy S5 is selling at a faster pace than its predecessor, there’s is a good chance that InvenSense could see more orders from the South Korean giant going forward. Also, Samsung expects to sell approximately 126 million high-end phones this year. Since InvenSense’s products are inside Samsung’s high-end phones, the company’s growth should pick up going forward.

Project Ara – A big catalyst
The big news is Google’s Project Ara. Google is working to create modular smartphones that will be designed exclusively according to customers’ needs. This is a very ambitious project, as described on the Project Ara website:

The smartphone is one of the most empowering and intimate objects in our lives. Yet most of us have little say in how the device is made, what it does, and how it looks. And 5 billion of us don’t have one. What if you could make thoughtful choices about exactly what your phone does, and use it as a creative canvas to tell your own story? Introducing Project Ara. Designed exclusively for 6 billion people.

Reports suggest that the Project Ara smartphones will cost just $50, and the technology giant will deploy kiosks for feature additions after the device is purchased. The modular smartphone will be 3D-printed, allowing for a high level of customization by users. Moreover, considering that low-cost phones are in great demand in emerging markets, this ambitious move by Google can improve growth in smartphones going forward.

InvenSense is deeply embedded in flagship Android devices. It has also partnered with Google on the Nexus platform, so it’s likely that it could become a key partner in Project Ara.

Apple might be another reason to invest
There’s been a lot of buzz on the Street that InvenSense is going to be a potential winner in the next iPhone. As reported by The Motley Fool’s Adam Levy in March, it won’t be a surprise if Apple switches suppliers and taps InvenSense for the accelerometer and the gyroscope. Levy goes on to state that Apple could place 90 million iPhone orders this year. Considering this huge number, Cupertino could diversify its suppliers in order to avoid supply constraints.

On the other hand, there’s the rumor of InvenSense supplying chips for an Apple smart watch. According to R. W. Baird, Apple could launch a smart watch in the second half of this year and ship between 5 million-6 million units. Since InvenSense is well-positioned in this market, it might land a spot in this device. In fact, InvenSense is already supplying chips for Samsung’s wearables, such as the Gear 2 and the Gear Fit

Earlier this year, at the Mobile World Congress, InvenSense announced a seven-axis MEMS motion tracking platform. The ICM-20728, as the chip is known, has a three-axis gyroscope, three-axis accelerometer, and a pressure sensor on a single chip, along with a digital motion processor. This chip allows motion tracking with absolute and relative altitude changes for navigation, health, and fitness applications, as reported by SlashGear. According to InvenSense, this chip is the first of its kind, wherein all information is available on a single platform. 

This chip is intended for wearable devices such as smart watches and fitness bands. Additional features such as its self-calibrating nature and altimeter to enable indoor and outdoor 3-D navigation further strengthen InvenSense’s chances of adding Apple to its client list. 

Final words
InvenSense has two big opportunitiesGoogle’s Project Ara and Apple’s next round of devices. The company did the right thing by investing in product development. Driven by a strong product portfolio and big clients, InvenSense can hit new highs going forward, so the stock’s recent drop is an opportunity you shouldn’t miss.

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InvenSense at Mobile World Congress 2014 [InvenSense Inc. YouTube channel, April 24, 2014]

Showcased at MWC 2014, InvenSense is the leading provider of MotionTracking™ sensor system on chip (SoC) and Sound solutions for consumer electronic devices such as smartphones, tablets, wearables, gaming devices, optical image stabilization, and remote controls for Smart TVs.

InvenSense™ Introduces World’s First Integrated 7-Axis MEMS MotionTracking™ Platform [press release, Feb 24, 2014]

Small 3.5mm x 3.5mm x 0.9mm Package

BARCELONA, Spain, February 24, 2014 – InvenSense, Inc. (NYSE: INVN), the leading provider of MotionTracking™ system on chip (SoC) and Sound devices, introduces the ICM-20728, the world’s first integrated 7-axis (3-axis gyroscope + 3-axis accelerometer + pressure sensor) single chip platform solution with onboard Digital Motion Processor (DMP™). For the first time, a single SoC delivers MotionTracking with absolute and relative altitude change for navigation, health and fitness applications. The new InvenSense 7-axis platform targets mobile and wearable devices such as smartphones, tablets, fitness bands, and smart watches.

The new ICM-20728 SoC underscores InvenSense’s ‘AlwaysOn’ vision by consuming approximately 2mW of power with full 7-axis and DMP active. This fully autonomous 7-axis motion tracking solution combines our industry leading gyroscope and accelerometer with a fully integrated pressure sensor, InvenSense’s third generation DMP, algorithms, and delivers new features, such as:

  • Self calibration for continuous high performance over extended lifetime
  • Activity classification and analysis for fitness and context aware applications
  • Altimeter function for indoor/outdoor 3D navigation

The ICM-20728 is software compatible with the previously announced ICM-20628. Furthermore, the InvenSense platform includes a programming environment for custom motion feature development with InvenSense Gesture Language (IGL) tools and the MotionApps software is fully compliant with, and drop-in ready, for multiple operating systems, including Google’s latest Android KitKat release.

“InvenSense’s integrated 7-axis platform with embedded processing is another technological breakthrough for the MEMS industry,” said Ali Foughi, Vice President of Marketing and Business Development at InvenSense. “With this device, InvenSense enables a new class of ‘AlwaysOn’ applications and services, such as indoor navigation, activity tracking and fitness.”

Sampling of the InvenSense ICM-20728 will commence within the first half of 2014. InvenSense is exhibiting in booth # D61 in Hall 7 at the 2014 Mobile World Congress taking place in Barcelona, Spain from February 24 – 27, 2014. To schedule press and partner meetings at the show, contact pr@invensense.com.

About InvenSense

InvenSense Inc. (NYSE: INVN) is the leading provider of MotionTracking™ sensor system on chip (SoC) and Sound solutions for consumer electronic devices. The company’s patented InvenSense Fabrication Platform and patent-pending MotionFusion™ technology address the emerging needs of many mass-market consumer applications via improved performance, accuracy, and intuitive motion-, gesture- and sound-based interfaces. InvenSense technology can be found in consumer electronic products including smartphones, tablets, wearables, gaming devices, optical image stabilization, and remote controls for Smart TVs. The company’s MotionTracking products are also being integrated into a number of industrial applications. InvenSense is headquartered in San Jose, California and has offices in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan, Slovakia, and Wilmington, MA. More information can be found at http://www.invensense.com.

InvenSense® Technology [InvenSense, May 11, 2012]

Overview

Our technology includes five core elements: our patented InvenSense-Fabrication process, our advanced MEMS motion sensor designs, our mixed-signal circuitry for sensor signal processing, our MotionFusion™ and calibration firmware, and our MotionApps™ software consisting of drivers and APIs for applications development on all major consumer electronics operating systems. Our patented InvenSense-Fabrication process enables direct integration of MEMS mechanical structures with standard complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) at the wafer level. This results in significant performance, reliability, integration and cost benefits, and enabled InvenSense to pioneer the industry’s first high-volume, commercial MEMS fabless business model. Our mixed-signal circuitry provides sensor signal processing which enables MotionFusion™ technology critical to our MotionProcessing™ platform. Our technology allows us to deliver Motion Interface solutions for all major consumer electronics applications including smartphones, tablets, game controllers, smart TVs, and wearable sensors, and with increasing levels of integration, from single-axis analog gyroscopes to fully-integrated, intelligent six and nine-axis MotionTracking™ devices.

image

Highly integrated and cost effective solutions enabled by our patented InvenSense-Fabrication Process

The foundation of our MotionTracking™ devices is the patented InvenSense-Fabrication process, which combines MEMS on CMOS (also known as CMOS-MEMS) in a small, cost effective standard package. Combining a MEMS wafer with an industry standard CMOS wafer allows us to reduce the number of MEMS manufacturing steps, perform wafer-level testing, and use chip-scale packaging, thereby reducing back-end costs of packaging and testing and improving overall yield and quality. In addition to our CMOS-MEMS process, we have also developed low cost, high throughput proprietary test and calibration systems for our motion sensors, capable of proving fully functional 9 DOF testing, which further reduces the back-end costs. We have pioneered a technological breakthrough in manufacturing low-cost MEMS motion interface solutions. Combining this unique process capability with our MEMS-based motion sensor designs and methodologies, mixed-signal IC integration techniques, MotionApps™ and Embedded MotionApps firmware, we have introduced MotionTracking™ devices that are industry-leading in form factor, performance, cost and reliability.

Manufacturing efficiency, flexibility and scalability

imageThe foundation of our MotionTracking™ devices is the patented InvenSense-Fabrication process, which combines MEMS on CMOS (also known as CMOS-MEMS) in a small, cost effective standard package. Combining a MEMS wafer with an industry standard CMOS wafer allows us to reduce the number of MEMS manufacturing steps, perform wafer-level testing, and use chip-scale packaging, thereby reducing back-end costs of packaging and testing and improving overall yield and quality. In addition to our CMOS-MEMS process, we have also developed low cost, high throughput proprietary test and calibration systems for our motion sensors, capable of proving fully functional 9 DOF testing, which further reduces the back-end costs. We have pioneered a technological breakthrough in manufacturing low-cost MEMS motion interface solutions. Combining this unique process capability with our MEMS-based motion sensor designs and methodologies, mixed-signal IC integration techniques, MotionApps™ and Embedded MotionApps firmware, we have introduced MotionTracking™ devices that are industry-leading in form factor, performance, cost and reliability.

Manufacturing efficiency, flexibility and scalability

Most MEMS devices are manufactured in proprietary fabrication facilities utilizing numerous proprietary and non-standard MEMS processing steps that are not compatible with CMOS manufacturing fabrication lines. InvenSense-Fabrication utilizes all off-the-shelf equipment and processing steps that are compatible with CMOS fabrication that has allowed us to port our proprietary process in leading CMOS foundries and operate as a fabless MEMS company. Our fabless model enables cost-effective high volume production and provides us with flexibility to quickly react to our customers’ needs.

Scalable MotionProcessing™ platform with opportunities for multi-sensor integration

imageOur current generation of MotionTracking™ devices are the six-axis MPU-[6000/]6050 [Nov 10, 2010 see below] and the nine-axis MPU-9150 [Jan 11, 2012]. The MPU-9150 [see on the right] packages the InvenSense single chip 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer with onboard Digital Motion Processor™ (DMP) hardware acceleration along with a 3-axis E-Compass die to deliver the world’s first integrated 9-axis MotionTracking™ device. Our 9-axis MotionFusion™ firmware combines calibrated accelerometer, gyroscope, and compass sensor output into a single data stream for software developers to easily incorporate Motion Interface functionality in their applications.

imageAs a result of integrating multiple sensors onto the same die and package, and providing complete 9-axis MotionFusion™ with run-time calibration software, our MotionTracking™ devices do not require the traditional calibration steps required with discrete sensor solutions by our customers. Furthermore, offloading intensive motion tracking computations from the host processor to our chip has provided entirely new capabilities and performance for consumer devices, applications and services.

High performance and reliability

Consumer electronics devices are exposed to harsh environmental conditions and must meet increasing performance and reliability requirements. One of the primary requirements for MEMS sensors in consumer applications is the ability to detect and measure all types of motion at varying rates of rotation in a wide range of environmental conditions. Gyroscopes, in particular, are responsible for the measurement of rotational motion; hence their functionality over the life of the product is critical. InvenSense-Fabrication combines the MEMS with CMOS at the wafer level, providing highly reliable hermetically sealed cavities for the MEMS structures without the need for a costly and additive getter process, whereby reactive materials are deposited in the cavity to maintain the vacuum integrity of the sensor. Our metallic eutectic seal provides for an inherently more reliable hermetic seal that will allow for reliable operation under harsh environmental conditions over the product lifecycles. The use of thick bulk silicon has enabled us to deliver high resonance frequency structures in the 30 kHz range, exceeding any potential ambient noises due to sounds and or vibrations, enabling for consistent high performance and accuracy under all condition.

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About Nacsa Sándor

Lazure Kft. • infokommunikációs felhő szakértés • high-tech marketing • elérhetőség: snacsa@live.com Okleveles villamos és automatizálási mérnök (1971) Munkahelyek: Microsoft, EMC, Compaq és Digital veterán. Korábban magyar cégek (GDS Szoftver, Computrend, SzáMOK, OLAJTERV). Jelenleg Lazure Kft. Amire szakmailag büszke vagyok (időrendben visszafelé): – Microsoft .NET 1.0 … .NET 3.5 és Visual Studio Team System bevezetések Magyarországon (2000 — 2008) – Digital Alpha technológia vezető adatközponti és vállalati szerver platformmá tétele (másokkal együttes csapat tagjaként) Magyarországon (1993 — 1998) – Koncepcionális modellezés (ma használatos elnevezéssel: domain-driven design) az objektum-orientált programozással kombinált módon (1985 — 1993) – Poszt-graduális képzés a miniszámítógépes szoftverfejlesztés, konkurrens (párhuzamos) programozás és más témákban (1973 — 1984) Az utóbbi időben általam művelt területek: ld. lazure2.wordpress.com (Experiencing the Cloud) – Predictive strategies based on the cyclical nature of the ICT development (also based on my previous findings during the period of 1978 — 1990) – User Experience Design for the Cloud – Marketing Communications based on the Cloud
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One Response to Wearables Trend and Supply Chain, Samsung Gear Fit as the state-of-the-art wristband wearable, i.e. the hybrid of a smartwatch and a fitness band, as a demonstration

  1. Pingback: Wearables Trend and Supply Chain, Samsung Gear Fit as the state … | best news

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