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What is behind the ARM Holding’s acquisition by SoftBank Group?

Update: Recently SoftBank Group among other Silicon Valley notaries such as Apple and Facebook, have poured over $100 billion into a new Softbank “vision Fund” that Founder Masayoshi Son says is going to be used to help develop AI. This is allocated to spending on emerging technology companies in the next 5 years. To put that number in perspective, the entire global venture capital “industry” is only $65 billion in size. Here is his presentation about that from MWC 2017:
March 3, 2017: Globalfuturist.org: Softbank CEO, Masayoshi Son Keynote at MWC 2017 (25 and half min)

The How to Invest in the Singularity – It’s Near from June 3, 2017 will also give you a deep analysis of this initiative. Highly recommended!
End of Update

The quick answer is that “ARM is the driver of the IoT era” when every thing is interconnected. Another reason is that they have been steadily working in an early investment mode from very beginning, and quite successfully.

SoftBank CEO and Founder Masayoshi Son has been referring back to the PC and Internet era when his company invested into Yahoo US which had only 16 employees then. In the beginning of PC broadband they have invested into mobile internet. And now is one of the biggest paradigm shifts is coming BIG TIME, that is IoT — he says. Some of his quotes shed light on what kind of perspective he is thinking of:

I truly believe Singularity [*] is coming and that computers will one day become smarter than mankind.

Every street light will be interconnected to the internet because we can save when car is not passing.

Automobile will all be connected so driverless car much safer.

All the things will be connected and what is biggest common denominator, that is Arm.

Technological singularity (Wikipedia): “is a hypothetical event in which an upgradable intelligent agent (such as a computer running software-based artificial general intelligence) enters a ‘runaway reaction’ of self-improvement cycles, with each new and more intelligent generation appearing more and more rapidly, causing an intelligence explosion and resulting in a powerful superintelligence that would, qualitatively, far surpass all human intelligence.[1][2] This would signal the end of the human era, as the new superintelligence would continue to upgrade itself and would advance technologically at an incomprehensible rate.[3]
For more information see the rest of the Wikipedia article.

And about the automobile opportunity alone he said:

I would say automobile is becoming smarter and smarter so when automobile becomes so smart it is required to have more and more chips integrated inside the car, especially when it becomes a driverless car. Automotive itself will become a super computer which consists of a bunch of multiple chips so ARM will be going into that market very aggressively.

More information along these lines see in the SoftBank CEO: the average person will have 1,000 internet-connected devices by 2040 article by Tech in Asia.

July 18, 2016: ARM CEO Simon Segars about SoftBank acquisition 

Official video released at https://www.acceleratingtech.com/ a site to explain the SoftBank acquisition of ARM, they claim:
– SoftBank’s £17 offer price gives ARM shareholders a 43% premium on Friday’s closing share price and a 41.1% premium on the all-time high share price
– Assurance to double ARM’s UK headcount in the next five years and increase headcount outside the UK
– Leaves ARM’s successful partnership business model, culture and brand unchanged
– Great endorsement of UK tech

July 18, 2016: Acquisition of ARM Holdings plc
Background and Rationale by SoftBank Group Corp.
(from Recommended Acquisition of ARM by SoftBank)

The acquisition of ARM by SBG will deliver the following benefits:

  • Support and accelerate ARM’s position as the global leader in intellectual property licensing and R&D outsourcing for semiconductor companies

SBG’s deep industry expertise and global network of relationships will accelerate adoption of ARM’s intellectual property across existing and new markets.

  • Maintain ARM’s dedication to innovation

SBG intends to sustain ARM’s long-term focus on generating more value per device, and driving licensing wins and future royalty streams in new growth categories, specifically “Enterprise and Embedded Intelligence.”

  • Increased investment to drive the next wave of innovation

SBG intends to support ARM’s multiple growth initiatives by investing in engineering talent and complementary acquisitions with the aim of ensuring ARM maintains a R&D edge over existing and emerging competitors. SBG believes such an investment strategy in long-term growth will be easier to execute as a non-listed company.

  • Shared culture and long-term vision

SBG believes the two companies share the same technology-oriented culture, long-term vision, focus on innovation and commitment to attracting, developing and retaining top talent. These common values will be the foundation for the strong strategic partnership necessary to capture the significant opportunities ahead.

  • Maintain and grow the UK’s leadership in science and technology

SBG is investing in the UK as a world leader in science and technology development and innovation and, as evidence of this, intends to invest in multiple ARM growth initiatives, at least doubling the number of ARM employees in the UK over the next five years.

July 18, 2016: Our Business Model (from Presentation material (English) (PDF) )

SoftBank Group Corp. Business Model -- 18 July 2016

Everything in violet color has been added by myself to the slide.

July 2015, from CEO Message:

Transformation into “SoftBank 2.0”

Thirty-four years have now passed since the foundation of SoftBank, and so far, our position has been one of SoftBank holding assets in overseas companies as a company in Japan. Now, however, we are going to the second stage of SoftBank—“SoftBank 2.0”—in which we will transform SoftBank into a truly global company that can ensure sustained business growth over the long term. We are now in a major transition period.

As the founder, I have set out to create a business model that can deliver continued business growth for centuries. However, many technology companies face the common challenge of a 30-year life cycle where growth is followed by decline. This decline stems from factors such as the increasing obsolescence of technologies and business models, and an over-reliance on founders.

What is the solution? Not only do we need to transform our existing businesses, we also need to have a comprehensive structure in place for supporting disruptive entrepreneurs and facilitating continued development with them.

… [the rest is to see at the place of original]

July 18, 2016Press Conference: ARM to be acquired by SoftBank

Japanese SoftBank CEO and Founder Masayoshi Son (https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=Masayoshi+Son), the richest person in Japan, speaks at the SoftBank Press Conference to announce the acquisition of ARM Holdings for $31.4 Billion, SoftBank promises to keep the same business model for ARM, to increase the employee count in the UK by 2x within the next 5 years, to increase ARM’s employee count around the world. You can read the official presentation materials here:
http://www.softbank.jp/corp/d/sbg_press_en/list/pdf/pressconference_01/material_en.pdf
[i.e. Presentation material (English) (PDF)]

July 2015, Major Subsidiaries

Company Name Voting Rights (%) Principal Business Activities

Mobile Communications Segment

SoftBank Mobile Corp.*1                         100 Mobile communications services, sale of mobile devices
BB Mobile Corp.                         100 Holding company
Ymobile Corporation*1*2                        99,7 Mobile broadband services, development and sale of communications devices, ADSL services, PHS-based mobile communications services
GungHo Online Entertainment, Inc.*3 40.2
[18.6]*
Production and distribution of online games for smartphones and other devices
Wireless City Planning Inc.                        33,3 Planning and provision of mobile broadband services
SoftBank Commerce & Service Corp.*5                         100 Manufacture, distribution, and sale of IT-related products, IT-related services
Brightstar Global Group Inc.                         100 Holding company
Brightstar Corp.                         100 Mobile device distribution, supply chain solutions, handset protection and insurance, buy-back and trade-in, omnichannel solutions and financial services
GRAVITY Co., Ltd.*6                        59,3 Planning, development, and operations of online games
Supercell Oy*7                        53,7 Production and distribution of mobile game applications

Sprint Segment

Sprint Corporation                        79,5 Holding company
Sprint Communications, Inc.                         100 Mobile communications services, sale of mobile devices and accessories, fixed-line telecommunications services

Fixed-line Telecommunications Segment

SoftBank BB Corp.*1                         100 ADSL services, IP telephony services
SoftBank Telecom Corp.*1                         100 Fixed-line telephone services, data transmission and leased-line services

Internet Segment

Yahoo Japan Corporation                        43,0 Operation of the Yahoo ! JAPAN portal, sale of Internet advertising, operation of e-commerce sites, membership services
IDC Frontier Inc.                         100 Data center business
ValueCommerce Co., Ltd.                        50,6 Ad affiliate marketing service, StoreMatch online advertising distribution service

Others

Mobiletech Corporation                         100 Holding company
SB Energy Corp.                         100 Generation of electricity from renewable energy sources, supply and sale of electricity
SoftBank Payment Service Corp.                         100 Settlement services, card services and related services
Fukuoka SoftBank HAWKS Corp.                         100 Ownership of professional baseball team, operation of baseball games, management and maintenance of baseball stadium and other sports facilities, distribution of video, voice and data content via media
SoftBank Robotics Holdings Corp.                         100 Planning, development, and sale of robots
SBBM Corporation                         100 Holding company
ITmedia Inc.                        57,9 Operation of comprehensive IT information site ITmedia, etc.
SoftBank Technology Corp.                        55,4 Solutions and services for online businesses
Vector Inc.                        52,4 Operation, sales, and marketing of online games, software downloads, advertising
SFJ Capital Limited                         100 Procurement of funds by issuing preferred (restricted voting) securities
SB Group US, Inc.                         100 Holding company
SB CHINA HOLDINGS PTE LTD                         100 Holding company
SoftBank Ventures Korea Corp.                         100 Holding company
SoftBank Korea Corp.                         100 Holding company
Starburst I, Inc.                         100 Holding company
SoftBank Holdings Inc.                         100 Holding company
SoftBank America Inc.                         100 Holding company
STARFISH I PTE. LTD.                         100 Holding company
SB Pan Pacific Corporation                         100 Holding company
Hayate Corporation                         100 Holding company
*1   On April 1, 2015 SoftBank BB, SoftBank Telecom, and Ymobile, merged into SoftBank Mobile.  On July 1, 2015, SoftBank Mobile changed its company name to SoftBank Corp.
*2   eAccess merged with WILLCOM on June 1, 2014 and changed its company name to Ymobile on July 1, 2014.
*3   As a result of the completion of a tender offer by GungHo for its shares on June 1, 2015, and other factors, GungHo became an equity method associate of SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.).  Please refer to page 190 for details.
*4   Holdings by parties in close relationships, etc., with SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.)
*5   SoftBank BB Corp., divided its commerce and service business and newly established SoftBank C&S on April 1, 2014.  All shares of SoftBank C&S held by SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.) were transferred to a wholly owned subsidiary of Brightstar.
*6   Since GRAVITY Co., Ltd.’s parent company GungHo is an equity method associate, as noted in *3, as of the publication of this annual report, GRAVITY is not a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.).
*7   The Company purchased additional shares of Supercell from existing shareholders on May 29, 2015.  After this transaction, the Company’s share of voting rights stands at 77.8%.

July 2015, Major Associates

Company Name Voting Rights (%) Principal Business Activities

Internet Segment

ASKUL Corporation                    41,9 Mail order sales of stationary, office products, services, etc.
The Japan Net Bank, Limited                    41,2 Banking business
BOOKOFF CORPORATION LIMITED                    15,0 Auction service and reuse business

Others

Scigineer Inc.                    33,2 Provision of Internet marketing support services using the personalized engine “deqwas” for e-commerce business operators and retailers
Bharti SoftBank Holdings Pte. Ltd.                    50,0 Holding company
Renren Inc.                    43,0 Investor company of company operating Renren.com SNS site in China
Alibaba Group Holding Limited                    31,9 Investor company of companies operating e-commerce sites Alibaba.com, Taobao. com, and Tmall.com
InMobi Pte. Ltd.                    35,2 Mobile advertising services

Main Overseas Fund Data

Fund Name
Subsidiaries
SoftBank Ranger Venture Investment Partnership
SoftBank Capital Fund ’10 L.P.
Associates
SoftBank US Ventures VI L.P.
SoftBank Capital Technology Fund III L.P.

 

MediaTek’s next 10 years’ strategy for devices, wearables and IoT

After what happened last year with MediaTek is repositioning itself with the new MT6732 and MT6752 SoCs for the “super-mid market” just being born, plus new wearable technologies for wPANs and IoT are added for the new premium MT6595 SoC [this same blog, ]. The last 10 years’ strategy was incredible!

MediaTek - The Next 10 years Enablement NOWEnablement is the crucial differentiator for MediaTek’s next 10 years’ strategy, as much as it was for the one in the last 10 years. Therefore it will be presented in details below as follows:

I. Existing Strategic Initiatives

I/1. MediaTek CorePilot™ to get foothold in the tablet market and to conquer the high-end smartphone market (MediaTek Super Mid Logo and MediaTek Helio Logo are detailed here)
I/2. MediaTek’s exclusive display technology quality enhancements
I/3. CorePilot™ 2.0 especially targeted for the extreme performance tablet and smartphone markets

II. Brand New Strategic Initiatives

II/1. CrossMount: “Whatever DLNA can plus a lot more”
II/2. LinkIt™ One Development Platform for wearables and IoT
II/3. LinkIt™ Connect 7681 development platform for WiFi enabled IoT

MWC 2015: MediaTek LinkIt Dev Platforms for Wearables & IoT – Weather Station & Smart Light Demos

MediaTek Labs technical expert Philip Handschin introduces us to two demonstrations based on LinkIt™ development platforms:
-Weather Station uses a LinkIt ONE development board to gather temperature, humidity and pressure data from several sensors. The data is then uploaded to the MediaTek Cloud Sandbox where it’s displayed in graphical form.
-Smart Light uses a LinkIt Connect 7681 development board. It receives instructions over a Wi-Fi connection, from a smartphone app, to control the color of an LED light bulb.

II/4. MediaTek Labs Logo: The best free resources for Wearables and IoT
II/5. MediaTek Ventures Logo: to enable a new generation of world-class companies

III. Stealth Strategic Initiatives (MWC 2015 timeframe)

III/1. SoCs for Android Wear and Android based wearables

Before these details let’s however understand the strategic reasoning for all that!
March 5, 2015: MediaTek CMO Johan Lodenius* at MWC 2015

MediaTek appoints Johan Lodenius as its new Chief Marketing Officer [press release, Dec 20, 2012]

MediaTek's Brand New World - The Big Picture -- MWC2015

MediaTek's Brand New World - Device Evolution -- MWC2015

MediaTek's Brand New World - Business Evolution -- MWC2015MediaTek's Brand New World -- MWC2015

MediaTek - Enabling a Brand New World

Next here is also a historical perspective (as per my blog) on MediaTek progress so far:
– First I would recommend to read the “White-box (Shanzhai) vendors” and “MediaTek as the catalyst of the white-board ecosystem” parts in the Be aware of ZTE et al. and white-box (Shanzhai) vendors: Wake up call now for Nokia, soon for Microsoft, Intel, RIM and even Apple! Feb 21, 2011 post of mine in order to understand the recipe for its last 10 years success ⇒ Johan Lodenius NOW:
MediaTek was the pioneer of manufacturable reference design
– Then it is worth to take a look at the following posts directly related to MediaTek if you want to understand the further evolution of the company’s formula of success :

MediaTek on Experiencing the Cloud

#2 Boosting the MediaTek MT6575 success story with the MT6577 announcement — UPDATED with MT6588/83 coming in Q4 2012 and 8-core MT6599 in 2013 (The MT6588 was later renamed MT6589). On the chart below of the “Global market share held by leading smartphone vendors Q4’09-Q4’14” by Statista it is quite well visible the effect of MT6575 (see from Q3’12 on) as this enabled a huge number of 3d Tier or no-name companies, predominantly from China to enter the smartphone market quickly and extremely competitively (and Nokia’s new strategy to fail as well)
Global market share held by leading smartphone vendors 4Q09-4Q14 by Statista#6 MT6577-based JiaYu G3 with IPS Gorilla glass 2 sreen of 4.5” etc. for $154 (factory direct) in China and $183 internationally (via LightTake)
#13 MediaTek’s ‘smart-feature phone’ effort with likely Nokia tie-up
#16 UPDATE Aug’13: Xiaomi $130 Hongmi superphone END MediaTek MT6589 quad-core Cortex-A7 SoC with HSPA+ and TD-SCDMA is available for Android smartphones and tablets of Q1 delivery
#24 Eight-core MT6592 for superphones and big.LITTLE MT8135 for tablets implemented in 28nm HKMG are coming from MediaTek to further disrupt the operations of Qualcomm and Samsung
#42 MediaTek MT6592-based True Octa-core superphones are on the market to beat Qualcomm Snapdragon 800-based ones UPDATE: from $147+ in Q1 and $132+ in Q2
#67 MediaTek is repositioning itself with the new MT6732 and MT6752 SoCs for the “super-mid market” just being born, plus new wearable technologies for wPANs and IoT are added for the new premium MT6595 SoC
#93 Phablet competition in India: $258 Micromax-MediaTek-2013 against $360 Samsung-Broadcom-2012
#128 MediaTek’s 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 octa-core SoC MT8752 is launched with 4G/LTE tablets in China
#205 Now in China and coming to India: 4G LTE True Octa-core™premium superphones based on 32-bit MediaTek MT6595 SoC with upto 20% more performance, and upto 20% less power consumption via its CorePilot™ technology
#237 Micromax is in a strategic alliance with operator Aircel and SoC vendor MediaTek for delivery of bundled complete solution offers almost equivalent to cost of the device and providing innovative user experience
#281 ARM Cortex-A17, MediaTek MT6595 (devices: H2’CY14), 50 billion ARM powered chips

As an alternative I can recommend here the February 2, 2015 presentation by Grant Kuo, Managing Director, MediaTek India on the IESA Vision Summit 2015 event in India:

– MediaTek Journey Since 1997
→ Accent on the turnkey handset solution: 200 eng. ⇒ 30-40 eng., time-to-market down to 4 months
→ Resulting in MediaTek share with local brands in India of 70% by 2014
 The Next Big Business after Mobile
 Partnering for New Business Opportunity
 Innovations & Democratization
→ Everyday Genius and Super-Mid Market

I. Existing Strategic Initiatives

I/1. MediaTek CorePilot™ to get foothold in the tablet market and to conquer the high-end smartphone market
(MediaTek Super Mid Logo and MediaTek Helio Logo are detailed here)

July 15, 2013:
Technology Spotlight: Making the big.LITTLE difference

MediaTek 2014 Market PerformanceNo matter where the mobile world takes us, MediaTek is always at the forefront, ensuring that the latest technologies from our partners are optimized for every mobile eventuality.

To maximize the performance and energy efficiency benefits of the ARM big.LITTLE™ architecture, MediaTek has delivered the world’s first mobile system-on-a-chip (SoC) – the MT8135 – with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP), featuring MediaTek’s CorePilot™ technology.

ARM big.LITTLE™ is the pairing of two high performance CPUs, with two power efficient CPUs, on a single SoC. MediaTek’s CorePilot™ technology uses HMP to dynamically assign software tasks to the most appropriate CPU or combination of CPUs according to the task workload, therefore maximizing the device’s performance and power efficiency.

In our recently produced whitepaper, we discussed the advantages of HMP over alternative forms of big.LITTLE™ architecture, and noted that while – HMP overcomes the limitations of other big.LITTLE™ architectures, MediaTek’s CorePilot™ maximizes the performance and power-saving potential of HMP with interactive power management, adaptive thermal management and advanced scheduler algorithms.

To learn more, please download MediaTek’s CorePilot™ whitepaper.

Leader in HMP

As a founding member of the Heterogeneous System Architecture (HSA) Foundation, MediaTek actively shapes the future of heterogeneous computing.

HSA Foundation is a not-for-profit consortium of SoC and software vendors, OEMs and academia.

July 15, 2013:
MediaTek CorePilot™ Heterogeneous Multi-Processing Technology [whitepaper]

Delivering extreme compute performance with maximum power efficiency

In July 2013, MediaTek delivered the industry’s first mobile system on a chip with Heterogeneous Multi-Processing. The MT8135 chipset for Android tablets features CorePilot technology that maximizes performance and power saving with interactive power management, adaptive thermal management and advanced scheduler algorithms.

Table of Contents

  • ARM big.LITTLE Architecture
  • big.LITTLE Implementation Models
  • Cluster Migration
  • CPU Migration
  • Heterogeneous Multi-Processing
  • MediaTek CorePilot Heterogeneous Multi-Processing Technology
  • Interactive Power Management
  • Adaptive Thermal Management
  • Scheduler Algorithms
  • The MediaTek HMP Scheduler
  • The RT Scheduler
  • Task Scheduling & Performance
  • CPU-Intensive Benchmarks
  • Web Browsing
  • Task Scheduling & Power Efficiency
  • SUMMARY

Oct 29, 2013:
CorePilot Task Scheduling & Performance

Mobile SoCs have a limited power consumption budget.

  • With ARM big.LITTLE, SoC platforms are capable of asymmetric computing where by tasks can be allocated to CPU cores in line with their processing needs.
  • From the three available software models for configuring big.LITTLE SoC platforms, Heterogeneous Multi-Processing offers the best performance.
  • MediaTek CorePilot technology is designed to deliver the maximum compute performance from big.LITTLE mobile SoC platforms with low power consumption.
  • The MediaTek CorePilot MT8135 chipset for Android is the industry’s first Heterogeneous Multi-Processing implementation.
  • MediaTek leads in the heterogeneous computing space and will release further CorePilot innovations in 2014.
(*) The #1 market position in Digital TVs is the result of the acquisition of the MStar Semiconductor in 2012.

Feb 9, 2015 by Bidness Etc:
Qualcomm Inc. (QCOM) To Lose Market Share: UBS

UBS expects Mediatek to gain at Qualcomm’s expense this year

Eric Chen, Sunny Lin, and Samson Hung, analysts at UBS, suggest that Mediatek will control 46% of the 4G smartphone market in China in 2015. Last year the company had a 30% market share. Low-end customers, as well as high-end clients that are switching to Mediatek MT6795 from Snapdragon 800 will help Mediatek advance.

“We believe clients for MT6795 include Sony, LGE, HTC, Xiaomi, Oppo, Meizu, TCL, and Lenovo, among others. With its design win of over 10 models, we anticipate Mediatek will ship 2m units per month in Q215 and 4m units per month in H215. That indicates revenue will reach 14% in Q215 and 21% in H215, up from 3% in Q115,” reads the report.UBS also said that Mediatek will witness a 20% increase in its revenue and report 48% in gross margin in 2015. Earnings are forecasted to grow 21%.

“We forecast MT6752/MT6732 shipments (mainly at MT6752 of US$18-20) to reach 3m units per month in Q215, up from 1.5m units per month in Q115,” read the report*.

My insert here the Sony Xperia E4g [based on MT6732] – Well-priced LTE-Smartphone Hands On at MWC 2015 by Mobilegeeks.de
* From another excerpt of the UBS report: “In the mid-end, UBS believes China’s largest smartphone manufacturers from LenovoGroup (992.HK) to Huawei will switch from Qualcomm’s MSM 8939 [Snapdragon 615] to Mediatek’s MT 6752 because of Qualcomm’s “inferior design.” ” 

Further below in the section I/2. there will be an image enhancement demonstration with an MT6752-based Lenovo A936 smartphone, actually a typical “lower end super-mid” device sold in China since December just for ¥998 ($160) — for 33% lower price than the mid-point for the super-mid market indicated a year ago by MediaTek (see the very first image in this post).

July 15, 2014 by Mobilegeeks.de:
MediaTek 64-bit LTE Octa-Core Smartphone Reference Design “In Shezhen MediaTek showed off their new Smartphone Reference Design for their LTE Octa-Core line up. The MT6595 and MT6795 are both high end processors capable of taking on Qualcomm in terms of benchmarks at a budget price.

July 15, 2014 by Mobilegeeks.de:
MediaTek: How They Came To Take on Qualcomm?

Brief content: When I found out about the MediaTek press conference, I immediately picked up a ticket and planned to spend a few days in one of my favorite cities on earth, Shenzhen. MediaTek is one of the fastet growing companies in mobile. But where exactly did this Taiwanese company come from?
Back in 1997 MediaTek was spun off from United Micro Electronics Corporation which was Taiwan’s first semi conductor company back in 1980 and started out making chipsets for home entertainment centers and optical drives. In 2004 they entered the mobile phone market with a different approach, instead of just selling SoCs they sold complete packages, a chip with an operating system all ready baked on, they were selling reference designs.
This cut entire heavily manned teams out of the process and more importantly reduced barriers for entry, small companies sold phones under their own brand. This is why most people have never heard of MediaTek, they merely enabled the success of others. Particularly in emerging markets like China.
With Feature phones peaking in 2012 and Smartphones finally taking over the top spot in 2013, they had to move on, it took them longer then they should have, regardless, they are here now. MediaTek is applying the same strategy for dominating the Feature Phone market to low and mid range Smartphones. They are already in bed with all the significant emerging market players like ZTE, Huawei & Alcatel. And getting manufacturers on your side works for gaining market share when carriers don’t have much control. Unsubsidized handsets make people purchase more affordable devices.
Despite its enormous success in the category where the next Billion handsets are going to be sold, they have yet to make a name for themselves in the West. Fair enough, being known for cheap handsets will create challengers to entering the high end market. But that hasn’t stopped them from coming out with the world first 4G LTE Octa core processor. And they even set up shop in Qualcomm’s backyard by opening an office in San Deigo. Which is a pretty big statement, especially when you take into consideration that MediaTek is bigger than Broadcom & Nvidia.
But as they push into the US, Qualcomm seeks to gain a foothold in China. So let’s take a closer look at that because this race has less to do with SoC’s than it does with LTE. MediaTek’s Octa-core processor with LTE put Qualcomm on alert because they always had to lead when it came to LTE. I found some stats on Android Authority from Strategy Analytics in Q3 2013 66% of their cellular revenue came from LTE, which MediaTek claimed second place at 12%, and Intel in third with 7%. Qualcomm even has a realtionship with China Mobile to get their LTE devices into the hands of its local market.

Even still, it is a numbers game and if MediaTek’s SoC performance is at the same level as Qualcomm’s mid range SoC offering but at a lower price, it won’t take MediaTek to catch up. But even on a more base level, let me tell you about a meeting that I had in Shenzhen with Gionee I asked about developing on Qualcomm vs MediaTek. They said, MediaTek will get back to you within the hour, Qualcomm will get back to you the next day, and when I mentioned Intel they just laughed.

Consumers might find it frustrating that MediaTek takes a little longer to come out with the latest version of Android, but the reason is that they are doing all the work for their partners. When you’re competing with a company that understand customer service better than anyone else right now, it’s going to be hard not to see them as a real threat.

MediaTek Introduces Industry Leading Tablet SoC, MT8135

TAIWAN, Hsinchu – July 29, 2013 – MediaTek Inc., (2454: TT), a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced its breakthrough MT8135 system-on-chip (SoC) for high-end tablets. The quad-core solution incorporates two high-performance ARM Cortex™-A15 and two ultra-efficient ARM Cortex™-A7 processors, and the latest GPU from Imagination Technologies, the PowerVR™ Series6. Complemented by a highly optimized ARM® big.LITTLE™ processing subsystem that allows for heterogeneous multi-processing, the resulting solution is primed to deliver premium user experiences. This includes the ability to seamlessly engage in a range of processor-intensive applications, including heavy web-downloading, hardcore gaming, high-quality video viewing and rigorous multitasking – all while maintaining the utmost power efficiency.

In line with its reputation for creating innovative, market-leading platform solutions, MediaTek has deployed an advanced scheduler algorithm, combined with adaptive thermal and interactive power management to maximize the performance and energy efficiency benefits of the ARM big.LITTLE™ architecture. This technology enables application software to access all of the processors in the big.LITTLE cluster simultaneously for a true heterogeneous experience. As the first company to enable heterogeneous multi-processing on a mobile SoC, MediaTek has uniquely positioned the MT8135 to support the next generation of tablet and mobile device designs.

“ARM big.LITTLE™ technology reduces processor energy consumption by up to 70 percent on common workloads, which is critical in the drive towards all-day battery life for mobile platforms,” said Noel Hurley, vice president, Strategy and Marketing, Processor Division, ARM. “We are pleased to see MediaTek’s MT8135 seizing on the opportunity offered by the big.LITTLE architecture to enable new services on a heterogeneous processing platform.”

“The move towards multi-tasking devices requires increased performance while creating greater power efficiency that can only be achieved through an optimized multi-core system approach. This means that multi-core processing capability is fast becoming a vital feature of mobile SoC solutions. The MT8135 is the first implementation of ARM’s big.LITTLE architecture to offer simultaneous heterogeneous multi-processing.  As such, MediaTek is taking the lead to improve battery life in next-generation tablet and mobile device designs by providing more flexibility to match tasks with the right-size core for better computational, graphical and multimedia performance,” said Mike Demler, Senior Analyst with The Linley Group.

The MT8135 features a MediaTek-developed four-in-one connectivity combination that includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, GPS and FM, designed to bring highly integrated wireless technologies and expanded functionality to market-leading multimedia tablets. The MT8135 also supports Wi-Fi certified Miracast™ which makes multimedia content sharing between devices remarkably easier.

In addition, the tablet SoC boasts unprecedented graphics performance enabled by its PowerVR™ Series6 GPU from Imagination Technologies. “We are proud to have partnered with MediaTek on their latest generation of tablet SoCs” says Tony King-Smith, EVP of marketing, Imagination. “PowerVR™ Series6 GPUs build on Imagination’s success in mobile and embedded markets to deliver the industry’s highest performance and efficient solutions for graphics-and-compute GPUs. MediaTek is a key lead partner for Imagination and its PowerVR™ Series6 GPU cores, so we expect the MT8135 to set an important benchmark for high-end gaming, smooth UIs and advanced browser-based graphics-rich applications in smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. Thanks to our PowerVR™ Series6 GPU, we believe the MT8135 will deliver five-times or more the GPU-compute-performance of the previous generation of tablet processors.”

“At MediaTek, our goal is to enable each user to take maximum advantage of his or her mobile device.  The implementation and availability of the MT8135 brings an enjoyable multitasking experience to life without requiring users to sacrifice on quality or energy. As the leader in multi-core processing solutions, we are constantly optimizing these capabilities to bring them into the mainstream, so as to make them accessible to every user around the world,” said Joe Chen, GM of the Home Entertainment Business Unit at MediaTek.

The MT8135 is the latest SoC in MediaTek’s highly successful line of quad-core processors, which since its launch last December* has given rise to more than 350 projects and over 150 mobile device models across the world. This latest solution, along with its comprehensive accompanying Reference Design, will like their predecessors fast become industry standards, particularly in the high-end tablet space.

* MediaTek Strengthens Global Position with World’s First Quad-Core Cortex-A7 System on a Chip – MT6589 [press release, Dec 12, 2012]

See also: Imagination Welcomes MediaTek’s Innovation in True Heterogeneous Multi-Processing With New SoC Featuring PowerVR Series6 GPU [press release, Aug 28, 2013]

MediaTek Super Mid LogoMediaTek Announces MT6595, World’s First 4G LTE Octa-Core Smartphone SOC with ARM Cortex-A17 and Ultra HD H.265 Codec Support

MediaTek CorePilot™ Heterogeneous Multi-Processing Technology enables outstanding performance with leading energy efficiency

TAIWAN, Hsinchu – 11 February, 2014 – MediaTek today announces the MT6595, a premium mobile solution with the world’s first 4G LTE octa-core smartphone SOC powered by the latest Cortex-A17™ CPUs from ARM®.

The MT6595 employs ARM’s big.LITTLE™ architecture with MediaTek’s CorePilot™ technology to deliver a Heterogeneous Multi-Processing (HMP) platform that unlocks the full power of all eight cores. An advanced scheduler algorithm with adaptive thermal and interactive power management delivers superior multi-tasking performance and excellent sustained performance-per-watt for a premium mobile experience.

Excellent Performance-Per-Watt
  • Four ARM Cortex-A17™, each with significant performance improvement over previous-generation processors, plus four Cortex-A7™ CPUs
  • ARM big.LITTLE™ architecture with full-system coherency performs sophisticated tasks efficiently
  • Integrated Imagination Technologies PowerVR™ Series6 GPU for high-performance graphics
  • Integrated 4G LTE Multi-Mode Modem
  • Rel. 9, Category 4 FDD and TDD LTE with data rates up to 150Mbits/s downlink and 50Mbits/s uplink
  • DC-HSPA+ (42Mbits/s), TD-SCDMA and EDGE for legacy 2G/3G networks
  • 30+ 3GPP RF bands support to meet operator needs worldwide

World-Class Multimedia Subsystems

  • World’s first mobile SOC with integrated, low-power hardware support for the new H.265 Ultra HD (4K2K) video record & playback, in addition to Ultra HD video playback support for H.264 & VP9
  • Supports 24-bit 192 kHz Hi-Fi quality audio codec with high performance digital-to-analogue converter (DAC) to head phone >110dB SNR
  • 20MP camera capability and a high-definition WQXGA (2560 x 1600) display controller
  • MediaTek ClearMotion™ technology eliminates motion jitter and ensures smooth video playback at 60fps on mobile devices
  • MediaTek MiraVision™ technology for DTV-grade picture quality

First MediaTek Mobile Platform Supporting 802.11ac

  • Comprehensive complementary connectivity solution that supports 802.11ac
  • Multi-GNSS positioning systems including GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo and QZSS
  • Bluetooth LE and ANT+ for ultra-low power connectivity with fitness tracking devices

World’s First Multimode Wireless Charging Receiver IC

  • Multi-standard inductive and resonant wireless charging functionality available
  • Supported by MediaTek’s companion multimode wireless power receiver IC

“MediaTek is focused on delivering a full-range of 4G LTE platforms and the MT6595 will enable our customers to deliver premium products with advanced features to a growing market,” said Jeffrey Ju, General Manager of the MediaTek Smartphone Business Unit.

“Congratulations to MediaTek on being in a leading position to implement the new ARM Cortex-A17 processor in mobile device”, said Noel Hurley, Vice President and Deputy General Manager, ARM Product Division. “MediaTek has a keen understanding of the smartphone market and continues to identify innovative ways to bring a premium mobile experience to the masses.”

The MT6595 platform will be commercially available by the first half of 2014, with devices expected in the second half of the year.

Sept 21, 2014:
MediaTek CorePilot™ Technology

MediaTek Super Mid LogoMediaTek Launches 64-bit True Octa-core™ LTE Smartphone SoC with World’s First 2K Display Support

TAIWAN, Hsinchu – July 15, 2014 – MediaTek today announced MT6795, the 64-bit True Octa-core™ LTE smartphone System on Chip (SoC) with the world’s first 2K display support. This is MediaTek’s flagship smartphone SoC designed to empower high-end device makers to leap into the Android™ 64-bit era.

The MT6795 is currently set to be the first 64-bit, LTE, True Octa-core SoC targeting the premium segment, with speed of up to 2.2GHz, to hit the market. The SoC features MediaTek’s CorePilot™ technology providing world-class multi-processor performance and thermal control, as well as dual-channel LPDDR3 clocked at 933MHz for top-end memory bandwidth in a smartphone.

The high-performance SoC also satisfies the multimedia requirements of even the most demanding users, featuring multimedia subsystems that support many technologies never before possible or seen in a smartphone, including support for 120Hz displays and the capability to create and playback 480 frames per second (fps) 1080p Full HD Super-Slow Motion videos.

With the launch of MT6795, MediaTek is accelerating the global transition to LTE and creating opportunities for device makers to gain first-mover advantage with top-of-the-line devices in the 64-bit Android device market. Coupled with 4G LTE support, MT6795 completes MediaTek’s 64-bit LTE SoC product portfolio: MT6795 for power users, MT6752 for mainstream users and MT6732 for entry level users. This extensive portfolio allows everyone to embrace the improved speed from 4G LTE and parallel computing capability from CorePilot and 64-bit processors.

Key features of MT6795:

  • 64-bit True Octa-core LTE SoC* with clock speed up to 2.2GHz
  • MediaTek CorePilot unlocks the full power of all eight cores
  • Dual-channel LPDDR3 memory clocked at 933MHz
  • 2K on device display (2560×1600)
  • 120Hz mobile display with Response Time Enhancement Technology and MediaTek ClearMotion™
  • 480fps 1080p Full HD Super-Slow Motion video feature
  • Integrated, low-power hardware support for H.265 Ultra HD (4K2K) video record & playback, Ultra HD video playback support for H.264 & VP9, as well as for graphics-intensive games and apps
  • Support for Rel. 9, Category 4 FDD and TDD LTE (150Mbps/50Mbps), as well as modems for 2G/3G networks
  • Support for Wi-Fi 802.11ac/Bluetooth®/FM/GPS/Glonass/Beidou/ANT+
  • Multi-mode wireless charging supported by MediaTek’s companion multi-mode wireless power receiver IC

“MediaTek has once again demonstrated leading engineering capabilities by delivering breakthrough technology and time-to-market advantage that enable limitless opportunities for our partners and end users, while setting the bar even higher for our competition,” said Jeffrey Ju, General Manager of the MediaTek Smartphone Business Unit.  “With a complete and inclusive 64-bit LTE SoC product portfolio, we are firmly on track to lead the industry in delivering premium mobile user experiences for years to come.”

MT6795-powered devices will be commercially available by the end of 2014.

*  Instead of a heterogeneous multi-processing architecture, the MT6795 features eight identical Cortex-A53 cores. 4xA53 + 4xA57 big.LITTLE was unofficially before.
See also: The Cortex-A53 as the Cortex-A7 replacement core is succeeding as a sweet-spot IP for various 64-bit high-volume market SoCs to be delivered from H2 CY14 on [this same blog, Dec 23, 2013]

MediaTek Launches MT6735Mainstream WorldModeSmartphone Platform

By adding CDMA2000, MediaTek accomplishes WorldMode modem capability in a single platform and meets wireless operator requirements globally; putting advanced yet affordable smartphones into the hands of consumers

TAIWAN, Hsinchu – 15 October, 2014 – MediaTek today announced a new 64-bit mobile system on chip (SoC), MT6735, incorporating the modem and RF needs of wireless operators globally.  By offering a unified mobile platform, MediaTek is enabling its customers to develop on the MT6735 and sell mobile devices globally, thereby creating significant R&D cost savings and economies of scale in manufacturing.  The MT6735 builds upon MediaTek’s existing line-up of mainstream LTE platforms by adding the critical WorldMode modem capability.

The MT6735 incorporates four 64-bit ARM® Cortex®-A53 processors, delivering significantly higher performance than Cortex-A7 for a premium mobile computing experience, driving greater choice of smart devices at affordable prices for consumers. As projected, MediaTek sees a continued consolidation of smartphones into a very large mid-range, termed by MediaTek as the “Super-mid market”.

“The MT6735 is a breakthrough product from MediaTek,” said Jeffrey Ju, SVP and General Manager of Wireless Communication at MediaTek. “With CDMA2000, we offer global reach, driving high performance technology into the hands of users everywhere. We also strongly believe that as LTE becomes mainstream in all markets, the processing power must be consistently high to ensure the best possible user experience. That’s why 64-bit CPUs and CorePilotTM technology are standard features across all of our LTE solutions.”

“MediaTek wants to make the world a more inclusive place, where the best, fully-connected user experiences do not mean expensive,” said Johan Lodenius, Chief Marketing Officer for MediaTek. “We are committed to creating powerful devices that accelerate the transformation of the global market and strive to put high-quality technology in the hands of everyone.”

The MT6735 platform includes:

Next-Generation 64-bit Mobile Computing System

  • Quad-core, up to 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit processors with MediaTek’s leading CorePilot multi-processor control system, providing a performance boost for mainstream mobile devices
  • Mali-T720 GPU with support for the Open GL ES 3.0 and Open CL 1.2 APIs and premium graphics for gaming and UI effects

Advanced Multimedia Features

  • Supports low-power, 1080p, 30fps video playback on the emerging video codec standard H.265 and legacy H.264 and 1080p, 30fps H.264 video recording
  • Integrated 13MP camera image signal processor with support for unique features like PIP (Picture-in-Picture), VIV (Video in Video) and Video Face Beautifier
  • Display support up to HD 1280×720 resolution with MediaTek MiraVision™ technology for DTV-grade picture quality

Integrated 4G LTE WorldModeModem & RF

  • Rel. 9, Category 4 FDD and TDD LTE (150 Mb/s downlink, 50 Mb/s uplink)
  • 3GPP Rel. 8, DC-HSPA+ (42 Mb/s downlink, 11 Mb/s uplink), TD-SCDMA and EDGE are supported for legacy 2G/3G networks
  • CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev. A
  • Comprehensive RF support (B1 to B41) and the ability to mix multiple low-, mid-, and high bands for a global roaming solution

Integrated Connectivity Solutions

  • Supports dual-band Wi-Fi to effortlessly connect to a wide array of wireless routers and enable new applications like video sharing over Miracast
  • Bluetooth 4.0, supporting low-power connection to fitness gadgets, wearables and other accessories, such as Bluetooth headsets

MT6735 is sampling to early customers in Q4, 2014, with the first commercial devices to be available in Q2, 2015.

March 4, 2015:
LTE WorldMode with MediaTek MT6735 and MT6753, now ready for the USA market and worldwide!

ARMdevices.net (Charbax): MediaTek now supports worldwide LTE with the 64bit MT6735 quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 and the 64bit MT6753 octa-core ARM Cortex-A53. This is LTE Cat4, they claim to be 10-15% faster in single SIM mode and 20-30% faster with dual-sim support compared to perhaps a Qualcomm LTE Worldmode. They also claim to use less power than competitor for standby, 3G and LTE mode. Many LTE Telcos around the world have already certified support for these new MediaTek LTE parts, with support on Vodafone, Orange, T-Mobile, Three, Deutsche Telekom, China Unicom, China Mobile, Telefonica, Verizon and AT&T. This LTE Worldmode processor is a big deal for MediaTek as it opens up the USA market for them, where MediaTek previously didn’t have much support for American telecoms as MediaTek’s previous 3G and LTE solutions mainly was working outside of the USA.

MediaTek Super Mid LogoMediaTek Releases the MT6753: A WorldMode 64-bit Octa-core Smartphone SoC

Complete with integrated CDMA2000 technology that looks to meet the needs of the high-end smartphone market worldwide 

SPAIN, Barcelona – March 1, 2015 – MediaTek, today announced the release of the MT6753, a 64-bit Octa-core mobile system-on-chip (SoC) with support for WorldMode modem capability. Coupled with the previously announced MT6735 quad-core SoC, the new MT6753 is designed with high performance features for an ever more demanding mid-range market.

Reinforcing MediaTek’s commitment to driving the latest technology to customers across the world, the MT6753 SoC will be offered at a price that creates strong value for customers, especially as it comes with integrated CDMA2000 to ensure compatibility in every market. The eight ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit processors and Mali-T720 GPU helps to ensure customers can meet graphic-heavy multimedia requirements while also maintaining battery efficiency for high-end devices.

“The launch of the MT6753 again demonstrates MediaTek’s desire to offer more power and choice to our 4G LTE product line, while also giving customers worldwide greater diversity and flexibility in their product layouts”, said Jeffrey Ju, Senior Vice President at MediaTek.

The MT6753, which is compatible with the previously announced MT6735 for entry smartphones, also enables handset makers to reduce time to market, simplify product development and manage product differentiation in a more cost effective way. MT6753 is sampling to customers now, with the first commercial devices to be available in Q2, 2015.

Key Features of MT6753 include:

Next-Generation 64-bit Mobile Computing System

  • Octa-core, up to 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit processors with MediaTek’s leading CorePilot multi-processor technology, providing a perfect balance of performance and power for mainstream mobile devices
  • Mali-T720 GPU with support for the Open GL ES 3.0 and Open CL 1.2 APIs and premium graphics for gaming and UI effects

Advanced Multimedia Features

  • Supports low-power, 1080p, 30fps video playback on the emerging video codec standard H.265 and legacy H.264 and 1080p, 30fps H.264 video recording
  • Integrated 16MP camera image signal processor with support for unique features like PIP (Picture-in-Picture), VIV (Video in Video) and Video Face Beautifier
  • Display support up to HD 1920×1080 60fps resolution with MediaTek MiraVision™ technology for DTV-grade picture quality

Integrated 4G LTE WorldModeModem & RF

  • Rel. 9, Category 4 FDD and TDD LTE (150 Mb/s downlink, 50 Mb/s uplink)
  • 3GPP Rel. 8, DC-HSPA+ (42 Mb/s downlink, 11 Mb/s uplink), TD-SCDMA and EDGE are supported for legacy 2G/3G networks
  • CDMA2000 1x/EVDO Rev. A
  • Comprehensive RF support (B1 to B41) and the ability to mix multiple low-, mid-, and high bands for a global roaming solution

Integrated Connectivity Solutions

  • Supports dual-band Wi-Fi to effortlessly connect to a wide array of wireless routers and enable new applications like video sharing over Miracast
  • Bluetooth 4.0, supporting low-power connection to fitness gadgets, wearables and other accessories, such as Bluetooth headsets

January 2015: MediaTek leaked smartphone roadmap (note the MT67xx scheduled for 4Q 2015 and using 20nm technology, as well that the new smartphone SoCs, except the very entry 3G with Cortex-A7, are based on Cortex-A53 cores while still using 28nm)
See also: The Cortex-A53 as the Cortex-A7 replacement core is succeeding as a sweet-spot IP for various 64-bit high-volume market SoCs to be delivered from H2 CY14 on [this same blog, Dec 23, 2013]

MediaTek leaked smartphone SoC roadmap -- Jan-2015
The availability dates shown above are for the first commercial devices!

MediaTek rebranding the high-end smartphone SoC family into MediaTek Helio Logo(starting with the MT6795 now denominated as Helio X10), after the Greek word for sun, “helios”:

March 12, 2015:
MediaTek Helio explained by CMO Johan Lodenius at MWC 2015

MediaTek rebranding the high-end smartphone SoC family into Helio

March 5, 2015:
MediaTek SVP Jeffrey Ju introducing the new Helio branding for premium (P) and extreme (X) performance segments of the smartphone SoCs at MWC 2015


I/2. Then continues with the presentation of MediaTek’s exclusive display technology quality enhancements (click on the links to watch the related brief videos):
MiraVision picture quality enhancement
SmartScreen as “the best viewing experience across extreme lighting conditions”
120Hz LCD display technology for a whole new experience (vs. the current 60Hz used by everyone)
– Super-SlowMotion, meaning 1/16 speed 480fps video playback (world’s first)
Instant Focus, meaning phase-detection autofocus (PDAF) technology on mobile devices cameras
– preliminary information on the new high-end Helio SoC with the new Cortex-A72 relying on 20nm technology, MiraVision Plus and their 3d genaration modem in 2nd half of 2015 (so it is quite likely the MT67xx mentioned in the above roadmap)

Note that 3d party companies are providing additional imaging enhancements to the device manufacturers, like the ones demonstrated by ArcSoft for the Lenovo Golden Warrior Note 8 TD-LTE (A936) at MWC 2015. Designed with Chinese (TD) and global market capabilities in mind, and available there from Dec’14 for ¥998 ($160) it is based on the MT6752 octacore which is providing the ARM Mali™-T760 GPU. ArcSoft is exploiting the GPU Compute capabilities for the additional imaging features shown in the video below:


I/3. CorePilot™ 2.0 especially targeted for the extreme performance tablet and smartphone markets

MediaTek To Redefine the Android Tablet Industry with world-first ARM® Cortex®-A72-based tablet SoC – MT8173

Revolutionary new 64-bit ARM processor ramps up tablet performance and battery life for heavy content Android users

SPAIN, Barcelona – March 1, 2015 – MediaTek today announced the first tablet system-on-chip (SoC) in a family that features an ARM® Cortex®-A72 processor, the industry’s highest-performing mobile CPU. The Quad-core MT8173 is designed to maximize the benefits of the new processor and greatly increase tablet performance, while extending battery life to ensure a premium tablet experience. The MT8173 meets the growing demand for 4K Ultra HD content and graphic-heavy gaming by everyday mobile computing device users.

The MT8173 is designed with a 64-bit Multi-core big.LITTLE architecture that combines two Cortex-A72 CPUs and two Cortex-A53 CPUs, extending performance and power efficiency further. MT8173 boasts a six-fold  increase in performance compared to the MT8125 released in 2013. MT8173 offers up to 2.4GHz performance, supporting OpenCL with the deployment of MediaTek Corepilot® 2.0, and enables heterogeneous computing between the CPU and GPU. The SoC also ensures the ultimate in display clarity and motion fluency on 120Hz display, promising smooth scrolling with crystal clarity as compared to a normal 60Hz display.

“MT8173 highlights the significant shift in how mobile devices, such as Android tablets, are used and, with the combination of ARM’s latest technology, we are delivering a platform that answers the growing demand for improved mobile multimedia performance and power usage.  By presenting CPU specs that outperform any other device currently on the market, we are bringing PC-like performance to tablet form factor, reinforcing MediaTek’s continued commitment to deliver premium technology to everyone across the globe.” said Joe Chen, Senior Vice President of MediaTek.

“MediaTek has been a strong adopter of ARM big.LITTLE processing architecture, extending it with CorePilot, to deliver extreme performance, while maintaining power efficiency,” said Noel Hurley, General Manager, CPU group, ARM. “Decisively and quickly incorporating the second-generation of our 64-bit technology into a market-ready product, underscores the partnership between ARM and MediaTek.”

The MT8173 platform features:

True Heterogeneous 64-bit Multi-Core big.LITTLE architecture up to 2.4GHz

  • Features ARM Cortex®-A72 and ARM Cortex®-A53 64-bit CPU
  • Big cores and LITTLE cores can run at full speed at the same time for peak performance requirement
  • Performance of up to 2.4GHz

Imagination PowerVR GX6250 GPU

  • Supports OpenGL ES 3.1, OpenCL for future applications
  • Delivers 350Mtri/s and 2.8 Gpix/s performance
  • Provides uncompromised user experience for WQXGA display at 60fps

Comprehensive Multimedia Features

  • 120Hz mobile display
  • Ultra HD 30fps H.264/HEVC(10-bit)/VP9 hardware video playback
  • WQXGA display support with TV-grade picture quality enhancement
  • HDMI and Miracast support for multi-screen applications
  • 20MP camera ISP with video face beautify and LOMO effects

Security hardware accelerator

  • Supports Widevine Level 1, Miracast with HDCP
  • HDCP 2.2 for premium video to 4k TV display

MT8173 is available for customers now, and will be featured in the first commercial tablets in second half of this year. MT8173 is being demonstrated at 2015 Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain at MediaTek’s booth – Hall 6, Stand 6E21 

MediaTek CorePilot 2.0 technology

March 5, 2015:
MediaTek CTO Kevin Jou on CorePilot 2.0 at MWC 2015


Then continues with the presentation of the new:
– MT8173 with the world’s first Cortex-A72 in the “big” role
– worldmode modem technology with LTE category 6

CrossMount technology as the “not yet another DLNA solution, as it does whatever DLNA can plus a lot more


II. Brand New Strategic Initiatives

Feb 27, 2015:
II/1. CrossMount
Unite your devices: Open up new possibilities

Technology makes it easy to share the things we love, but only when we use it in a certain way.

Making a video call just needs a smartphone with a camera, for instance, but what if you want to talk using the big screen on your HDTV? And what happens when you want to watch video from your set-top IPTV box on your tablet when you’re lying in bed — and use your smartwatch as a remote control?

With technology playing an increasingly important part in our lives, these are the kind of problems we can expect to face every day. And they’re the kind of problems MediaTek solves with CrossMount.

MediaTek CrossMount is a new standard for sharing hardware and software resources between a whole host of consumer electronics.

Based on the UPnP protocol, CrossMount connects compatible devices wirelessly, using either a home Wi-Fi network or a Wi-Fi Direct connection, to allow one to seamlessly access the features of another.

So you can start watching streaming video on the living room TV, for example, then switch it to your tablet when you move to another room, or use your TV’s speakers for a hands-free phone call with your smartphone. The possibilities are endless.

The CrossMount Alliance for MediaTek partners, customers and developers makes developing CrossMount applications as easy as possible, many brands and developers are already on board.

CrossMount will be available in late 2015 for MediaTek-based Android devices

MediaTek Introduces a New Convergence Standard for Cross-device Sharing with CrossMount

Fast and easy sharing of content, hardware and software resources enable multiple devices to combine and act together as a single, more powerful device

SPAIN, Barcelona – March 1, 2015– MediaTek today announced CrossMount – a new technology that simplifies hardware and software resource sharing between different consumer devices. Designed to be a new standard in cross-device convergence, the CrossMount framework ensures any compatible device can seamlessly use and share hardware or software resources authorized by the user. CrossMount is an open and simple-to-implement technology for the wide ecosystem of MediaTek customers and partners that opens the possibilities for multiple devices effectively working as one or sharing applications and hardware resources.

CrossMount defines its service mounting standard based on UPnP protocol, and can be implemented primarily in Android and Linux as well as other platforms. CrossMount works through simple discovery, pairing, authorization and use between devices of both hardware and software resources across smartphones, tablets and TVs. Communication between devices is achieved directly between devices via home gateways (Wireless LAN) or peer to peer (Wi-Fi Direct). Discovery and sharing are granted through an easy software implementation that allows all Wi-Fi capable devices to share resources without the need for cloud servers.

“Consumers have adopted a wide array of Internet-connected devices at home, in schools and workplaces, CrossMount sets the new standard for easy cross-device interaction and resource sharing.  We are particularly keen to open up this innovation to our wide ecosystem of customers and partners around the world, unleashing their imagination to create new immersive experiences that further enrich peoples’ lives” said, Joe Chen, Senior Vice President, MediaTek.

With CrossMount enabled devices, for example, viewers can simply pair their TV sound to their smartphone earphones or use their smartphone microphone as a voice controller to search content on their smart TV.  This is a breakthrough in user experience as the CrossMount standard means several devices can act as one together rather than simply share content.

“CrossMount is a lot more than mirroring from phone to TV – as has already been developed within the industry”, added Joe Chen. “CrossMount goes the extra mile with hardware and software capability sharing between smart devices, thereby creating many useful and more complex use cases, such as mounting a smartphone camera to a TV and enabling the TV for video conferencing session.”

To further drive the adoption of CrossMount as an industry standard, MediaTek is establishing the CrossMount Alliance to bring its wide ecosystem of partners and customers together and explore new possibilities to drive the technology forward. CrossMount will be open for developers to further expand the ability for innovative and new applications to be created, potentially changing the way we use and share devices and content. Chang-hong, Hisense, Lenovo and TCL are the first MediaTek customers to support CrossMount.

CrossMount will be made available to MediaTek customers and partners in the third quarter for Android-based smartphone, tablet and TV products, with devices expected on the market by end of this year.


II/2. LinkIt™ One Development Platform for wearables and IoT

March 20, 2015: MediaTek Labs – IoT Lab at 4YFN Barcelona

See how MediaTek Labs supported the winning team, Playdrop, who took advantage of the MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE development board to build an innovative water monitoring and control system prototype. Playdrop was just one of the competitors at IoT Lab, where developers from all over the world formed new teams and had less than two days to ideate, create business cases and working prototypes for the Internet of Things (IoT).
You can also hear from VP of MediaTek Labs, Marc Naddell, about how our development platforms will be supporting more developers on their journey into Wearables and IoT devices.

To find out more about MediaTek Labs & our offerings:
LinkIt ONE development platform: http://labs.mediatek.com/one
MediaTek Cloud Sandbox: http://labs.mediatek.com/sandbox
Get the tools you need to build your own Wearables and IoT devices, register now:http://labs.mediatek.com/register

Feb 18, 2015: What is MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE Development Platform?

MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE development platform enables you to design and prototype Wearables and Internet of Things (IoT) devices, using hardware and an API that are similar to those offered for Arduino boards.

The platform is based around the world’s smallest commercial System-on-Chip (SoC) for Wearables, MediaTek Aster (MT2502). This SoC works with MediaTek’s energy efficient Wi-Fi and GNSS companion chipsets also. This means you can easily create devices that connect to other smart devices or directly to cloud applications and services.

To make it easy to prototype Wearables and IoT devices and their applications, the platform delivers:

  • The LinkIt ONE Software Development Kit (SDK) for the creation of apps for LinkIt ONE devices. This SDK integrates with the Arduino software to deliver an API and development process that will be instantly familiar.
  • The LinkIt ONE Hardware Development Kit (HDK) for prototyping devices. Based on a MediaTek hardware reference design, the HDK delivers the LinkIt ONE development board from Seeed Studio.

Key features of LinkIt ONE development platform:

  • Optimized performance and power consumption to offer consumers appealing, functional Wearables and IoT devices
  • Based on MediaTek Aster (MT2502) SoC, offering comprehensive communications and media options, with support for GSM, GPRS, Bluetooth 2.1 and 4.0, SD Cards, and MP3/AAC Audio, as well as Wi-Fi and GNSS (hardware dependent)
  • Delivers an API, to access key features of the Aster SoC, that is similar to that for Arduino; enabling existing Arduino apps to be quickly ported and new apps created with ease
  • LinkIt ONE developer board from partner Seeed Studio with similar pin-out to the Arduino UNO enabling a wide range of peripheral and circuits to be connected to the board
  • LinkIt ONE SDK (for Arduino) offering instant familiarity to Arduino developers and a easy to learn toolset for beginners

LinkIt ONE SDK                                                      LinkIt ONE HDK

MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE Development Platform

LinkIt ONE architecture

Running on top of the Aster (MT2502) and, where used, its companion GNSS and Wi-Fi chipsets, the LinkIt ONE developer platform is based on an RTOS kernel. On top of this kernel is a set of drivers, middleware and protocol stacks that expose the features of the chipsets to a Framework. A run-time Environment then provides services to the Arduino porting layer that delivers the LinkIt ONE API for Arduino. The API is used to develop Arduino Sketches with the LinkIt ONE SDK (for Arduino).

MediaTek LinkIt ONE architecture*MT3332 (GPS) and MT5931 (WiFi) are optional

Hardware core: Aster (MT2502)

The hardware core for LinkIt ONE development platform is MediaTek Aster (MT2502). This chipset also works with our Wi-Fi and GNSS chips, offering high performance and low power consumption to Wearables and IoT devices.

MediaTek Aster (MT2502)Aster’s highly integrated System-on-Chip (SoC) design avoids the need for multiple chips, meaning smaller devices and reduced costs for device creators, as well as eliminating the need for compatibility tests.

With Aster, it’s now easier and cheaper for device manufacturers and the maker community to produce desirable, functional wearable products.

Key features

  • The smallest commercial System-on-Chip (5.4mm*6.2mm) currently on the market
  • CPU core: ARM7 EJ-S 260MHz
  • Memory: 4MB RAM, 4MB Flash
  • PAN: Dual Bluetooth 2.1 (SPP) and 4.0 (GATT)
  • WAN: GSM and GPRS modem
  • Power: PMU and charger functions, low power mode with sensor hub function
  • Multimedia: Audio (list formats), video (list formats), camera (list formats/resolutions)
  • Interfaces: External ports for LCD, camera, I2C, SPI, UART, GPIO, and more

MediaTek Aster (MT2502) vs the competition

Get started with the LinkIt ONE development platform

Nov 12, 2014: MediaTek Labs – LinkIt workshop presentation


MediaTek Labs technical expert Pablo (Yuhsian) Sun provides an overview of the LinkIt Development Platform, in this presentation recorded at XDA:DevCon. Pablo describes what LinkIt is and discusses why its capabilities — such as support for Wi-Fi, SMS, Groove peripherals, and more — make it the ideal, cost effective tool for prototyping wearable and IoT devices. He also covers the LinkIt ONE board, offering an in-depth look at its hardware, introduced the APIs, and shows you how software is developed with Ardunio and the LinkIt SDK. Link to additional resources are also provided. If you haven’t used the LinkIt development platform, this video provides you with all the basics to get started.

MediaTek Launches LinkIt™ Platform for Wearables and Internet of Things

TAIWAN, Hsinchu – June 3, 2014 – MediaTek today announced LinkIt™, a development platform built to accelerate the wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) markets. LinkIt integrates the MediaTek’s Aster System on Chip (SoC), the smallest wearable SoC currently on the market. The MediaTek Aster SoC is designed to enable the developer community to create a broad range of affordable wearable and IoT products and solutions, for the billions of consumers in the rising Super-mid market to realize their potential as Everyday Geniuses.

Key features of MediaTek Aster and LinkIt:

  • MediaTek Aster, the smallest SoC in a package size of 5.4×6.2mm specifically designed for wearable devices.
  • LinkIt integrates the MediaTek’s Aster SoC and is a developer platform supported by reference designs that enable creation of various form factors, functionalities, and internet connected services.
  • Synergies between microprocessor unit and communication modules, facilitating development and saving time in new device creation.
  • Modularity in software architecture provides developers with high degree of flexibility.
  • Supports over-the-air (OTA) updates for apps, algorithms and drivers which enable “push and install” software stack (named MediaTek Capsule) from phones or computers to devices built with MediaTek Aster.
  • Plug-in software development kit (SDK) for Arduino and VisualStudio. Support for Eclipse is planned for Q4 this year.
  • Hardware Development Kit (HDK) based on LinkIt board by third party.

“MediaTek is now in a unique position to assume leadership by accelerating development for wearables and IoT, thanks to our LinkIt platform,” said J.C. Hsu, General Manager of New Business Development at MediaTek.  “We are enabling an ecosystem of device makers, application developers and service providers to create innovations and new solutions for the Super-mid market.”

Eric Li, Vice President, China’s Internet giant said, “Baidu provides a wealth of services for its users on our Internet portal, and our offerings will enable MediaTek-powered devices to do much more than they already can. The IoT is inter-connecting devices, and we’re connecting people with information via such devices. Our partnership with MediaTek will bring both of us closer to our respective goals.”

Gonzague de Vallois, Senior Vice President of Gameloft, another one of MediaTek’s ecosystem partners, said, “The wearable devices era is a fascinating one for a game developer. Proliferation of devices equipped with all sorts of different sensors and measured information from human body are creating possibilities for us to develop games that are played differently and in ways that were never imagined before. We are pleased to be a partner of MediaTek, who is enabling the wearable devices future for us to continuously bring innovative games to gamers around the world.”

The launch of LinkIt is a part of MediaTek’s wider initiative for the developer community called MediaTek Labs™ which will officially launch later this year. MediaTek Labs will stimulate and support the creation of wearable devices and IoT applications based on the LinkIt platform. Developers and device makers who are interested in joining the MediaTek Labs program are invited to email labs-registration@mediatek.com to receive a notification once the program launches. For more information and ongoing updates, please go to http://labs.mediatek.com.

Oct 30, 2014:
LinkIt ONE Plus Version from SeedStudio (http://www.seeedstudio.com/depot/LinkIt-ONE-p-2017.html)


Jan 3, 2015:
II/3. What is MediaTek LinkIt™ Connect 7681 development platform?

There is an increasing trend towards connecting every imaginable electrical or electronic device found in the home. For many of these applications developers simply want to add the ability to remotely control a device — turn on a table lamp, adjust the temperature setting of an air-conditioner or unlock a door. This is where the MediaTek MT7681 comes in.

MediaTek MT7681

MediaTek MT7681 is a compact Wi-Fi System-on-Chip (SoC) for IoT devices with embedded TCP/IP stack. By adding the MT7681 to an IoT device it can connect to other smart devices or to cloud applications and services. Connectivity on the MT7681 is achieved using Wi-Fi in either Wi-Fi station or access point (AP) mode.

In Wi-Fi station mode, MT7681 connects to a wireless AP and can then communicate with web services or cloud servers. A typical use of this option would be to enable a user to control the heating in their home from a home automation website.

To simplify the connection of an MT7681 chip to a wireless AP in Wi-Fi station mode, the MediaTek Smart Connection APIs are provided. These APIs enable a smart device app to remotely provision a MT7681 chip with AP details (SSID, authentication mode and password).

In AP mode, an MT7681 chip acts as an AP, enabling other wireless devices to connect to it directly. Using this mode, for example, the developer of a smart light bulb could offer users a smartphone application that enables bulbs to be controlled from within the home.

To control the device an MT7681 is incorporated into, the chip provides five GPIO pins and one UART port. In addition PWM is supported in software, for applications such as LED dimming.

MediaTek LinkIt Connect 7681 development platform

To enable developers and makers to take advantage of the features of the MT7681, MediaTek Labs offers the MediaTek LinkIt Connect 7681 development platform, consisting of an SDK, HDK and related documentation.

For software development MediaTek LinkIt Connect 7681 SDK is provided for Microsoft Windows and Ubuntu Linux. Based on the Andes Development Kit, the SDK enables developers to create firmware to control an IoT device in response to instructions received wirelessly.

For IoT device prototyping, the LinkIt Connect 7681 development board is provided. The development board consists of a LinkIt Connect 7681 module, micro-USB port and pins for each of the I/O interfaces of the MT7681 chip. This enables you to quickly connect external hardware and peripherals to create device prototypes. The LinkIt Connect 7681 module, which measures just 15x18mm, is designed to easily mount on a PCB as part of production versions of an IoT device.

Key Features of MT7681

  • Wi-Fi station and access point (AP) modes
  • 802.11 b/g/n (in station mode) and 802.11 b/g (in AP mode)
  • Smart connection APIs to easily create Android or iOS apps to provision a device with wireless AP settings
  • TCP/IP stack
  • Firmware upgrade over UART, APIs for FOTA implementation
  • Software PWM emulation for LED dimming
  • Firmware upgrade over UART, APIs for FOTA implementation

Jan 15, 2015:
II/4. Join MediaTek Labs

MediaTek Labs Logo: The best free resources for Wearables and IoT

Get the tools and resources you and your company need to go from idea to prototype to product.

Register now to get access to:

  • MediaTek SDKs
  • MediaTek hardware reference designs
  • Comment posting in our active developer forum
  • Private messaging with other MediaTek Labs members
  • Our solutions catalog, where you can share your project privately with MediaTek to unlock our support and matchmaking services

MediaTek Labs gives you the help you need to develop innovative hardware and software based on MediaTek products. From smart light bulbs, to the next-generation fitness tracker and the exciting world of the smartwatch, you can make your journey with our help.

As a registered Labs member you’ll be able to put your project in front of our business development team, who’ll help you find the partners you need to get you on the road to success. We’re here to help guide you through the exciting possibilities offered by the next wave in developer opportunities: Wearables and IoT.

MediaTek Labs is free to join:

Register today!

About MediaTek Labs

MediaTek is a young and entrepreneurial company that has grown quickly into a market leader. We identify with creative and driven pioneers in the maker and developer communities, and recognize the benefits of building an ecosystem that fosters your talents and your efforts to innovate.

MediaTek Labs is the developer hub for all our products. It builds on our track record for delivering industry-leading reference designs that offer the shortest time-to-market for our extensive customer and partner base.

MediaTek Launches Labs Developer Program to Jumpstart Wearable and IoT Device Creation

Unveils LinkIt™ platform; simplifies the development of hardware and software for developers, designers and makers

TAIWAN, Hsinchu — Sept 22, 2014 — MediaTek today launched MediaTek Labs (http://labs.mediatek.com), a global initiative that allows developers of any background or skill level to create wearable and Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The new program provides developers, makers and service providers with software development kits (SDKs), hardware development kits (HDKs), and technical documentation, as well as technical and business support.

“With the launch of MediaTek Labs we’re opening up a new world of possibilities for everyone — from hobbyists and students through to professional developers and designers — to unleash their creativity and innovation,” says Marc Naddell, vice president of MediaTek Labs. “We believe that the innovation enabled by MediaTek Labs will drive the next wave of consumer gadgets and apps that will connect billions of things and people around the world.”

The Labs developer program also features the LinkIt™ Development Platform, which is based on theMediaTek Aster (MT2502) chipset. The LinkIt development Platform is the one of the best connected platforms, offering excellent integration for the package size and doing away with the need for additional connectivity hardware.  LinkIt makes creating prototype wearable and IoT devices easy and cost effective by leveraging MediaTek’s proven reference design development model. The LinkIt platform consists of the following components:

  • System-on-Chip (SoC)MediaTek Aster (MT2502), the world’s smallest commercial SoC for Wearables, and companion Wi-Fi (MT5931) and GPS (MT3332) chipsets offering powerful, battery efficient technology.
  • LinkIt OS — an advanced yet compact operating system that enables control software and takes full advantage of the features of the Aster SoC, companion chipsets, and a wide range of sensors and peripheral hardware.
  • Hardware Development Kit (HDK) — Launching first with LinkIt ONE, a co-design project with Seeed Studio, the HDK will make it easy to add sensors, peripherals, and Arduino Shields to LinkIt ONE and create fully featured device prototypes.
  • Software Development Kit (SDK) — Makers can easily migrate existing Arduino code to LinkIt ONE using the APIs provided. In addition, they get a range of APIs to make use of the LinkIt communication features: GSM, GPRS, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi.

To ensure developers can make the most of the LinkIt offering, the MediaTek Labs website includes a range of additional services, including:

  • Comprehensive business and technology overviews
  • A Solutions Catalog where developers can share information on their devices, applications, and services and become accessible for matchmaking to MediaTek’s customers and partners
  • Support services, including comprehensive FAQ, discussion forums that are monitored by MediaTek technical experts, and — for developers with solutions under development in the Solutions Catalog — free technical support.

“While makers still use their traditional industrial components for new connected IoT devices, with the LinkIt ONE hardware kit as part of MediaTek LinkIt Developer Platform, we’re excited to help Makers bring prototypes to market faster and more easily,” says Eric Pan, founder and chief executive officer of Seeed Studio.

Makers, designers and developers can sign up to MediaTek Labs today and download the full range of tools and documentation at http://labs.mediatek.com.

Mar 2, 2015:
MediaTek Labs Partner Connect

Taking any Wearables or IoT project beyond the prototype stage can be a daunting prospect, whether you’re a small startup or an established company making its first foray into new devices.

To make the path to market easier, MediaTek Labs Partner Connect will help find you the partners you need to make your idea a reality. The program includes some of the world’s best EMS, OEM and ODM companies, as well as distributors of MediaTek products and suppliers of device components. But the real benefit comes from our MediaTek Labs experts, who will work with you to match your requirements with the right partner or partners.

Getting started is simple. Once you have registered your company on MediaTek Labs, submit your Wearables or IoT project to our confidential device Devices Catalog. And it doesn’t matter where you are in the development process — perhaps you have an early prototype running on a LinkIt development board or have full CAD and BOM for your product — our experts can help. Simply select the “Seeking Partner” option when you submit your device for review by MediaTek Labs and, once approved, one of our partner managers will review your requirements and get to work finding the right partners for you.

Designers and developers

Our design partners can assist with specific expertise in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering and computer aided design (CAD), industrial design, regulatory compliance testing, software and more. Whether you’re looking for specific expertise to assist with a single aspect of your project or want a turnkey solution that delivers the vision of your prototype directly to manufacturing, these partners can help.

Manufacturers

From the late stages of development, where you need batches of production prototypes, through low volume pilot runs for consumer testing and marketing, to full production these partners can help. From your designs they’re able to turn your Wearables or IoT idea into a commercial consumer or enterprise product. They’ll do this employing the latest in manufacturing technology, from flexible facilities that can adapt to your needs as you find success in the market.

MediaTek distributors

If you have your own manufacturing facilities or partner and are looking to source MediaTek chipset modules in volumes beyond retail, these partners will be able to help you. In addition to providing for your volume requirements, they’ll also provide additional technical information and support to ensure you make optimal use of MediaTek chipsets in your product and manufacturing process.

Component suppliers

This group of partners will be able to assist you from prototype to production: from selecting the components for your pre-production prototypes through to production run quantities of specific components. Batteries, sensors, screens and much more can be supplied by these partners, from evaluation batches to production quantities delivered to your manufacturing facility or manufacturing partner.

MediaTek Labs Launches New Partner Program to Help Bring Wearables and IoT Devices to Market Faster

MediaTek Labs Partner Connect provides matchmaking for developers and partners in support of MediaTek LinkIt™

SPAIN, Barcelona March02, 2015 – As part of its global developer initiative, MediaTek today announced MediaTek Labs Partner Connect at this year’s Mobile World Congress. The new supply chain partner program will help developers of Wearables and IoT devices design and launch their products based on MediaTek LinkIt by matching them with members of MediaTek’s extensive network of partners.

Today’s launch complements existing development platform offerings from MediaTek Labs and aims to reduce time to market for developers of new Wearables and IoT devices:

  • MediaTek LinkIt is a portfolio of development platforms – currently consisting of MediaTek LinkIt ONE and MediaTek LinkIt Connect 7681– for Wearables and IoT, offering a broad range of connectivity options and the software and hardware development kits (SDKs, HDKs from Seeed Studio and Modules from AcSiP) needed for makers to create their own devices powered by MediaTek chipsets.
  • MediaTek Cloud Sandbox (also launched today) is a complimentary cloud-based IoT platform and playground to store, display and remotely access IoT device data during prototyping.
  • MediaTek Labs Partner Connect will assist registered developers of MediaTek Labs in finding appropriate supply chain partners to help with design, development and manufacturing, sourcing of MediaTek chipset based modules and other key components. MediaTek ODM partners have available off-the-shelf reference designs to rapidly serve developers with different design capabilities.

“Taking any Wearables or IoT project beyond the prototype stage can be a daunting prospect, whether you’re a small startup or an established company making its first foray into new devices”, said Marc Naddell, VP of MediaTek Labs. “To make the path to market easier, MediaTek Labs Partner Connect will help developers find the partners they need to make their ideas a reality”.

To gain access to Partner Connect matchmaking services, Labs member companies submit their Wearables or IoT projects to the Labs confidential Device Solutions Catalog and select the “Seeking Partner” option. MediaTek Labs will then help evaluate the business case and technical feasibility of the device, and, once vetted and approved, a partner manager will get to work finding the right partners in MediaTek’s network.

MediaTek Labs Partner Connect is the latest initiative to expand the company’s 17-year legacy of working closely across a wide ecosystem of TV, phone, tablet, navigation, router, gaming and multimedia customers. Over the years, MediaTek has provided efficient, turnkey solutions that give these clients a cost-effective and rapid time to market for their new devices and has taken many start-ups from humble beginnings to established, global enterprises. Now MediaTek is extending partner network to developers and makers in the Wearables and IoT space through MediaTek Labs Partner Connect.

To hear more about MediaTek Labs and see live demos of its unique offerings for developers, visit MediaTek’s booth at Mobile World Congress – Hall 6, Stand 6E21. To learn more about MediaTek Labs Partner Connect, visit http://labs.mediatek.com/partners.

Mar 2, 2015:
Introduction to MediaTek Cloud Sandbox

When prototyping Wearables and IoT devices, you may want to collect, sort and visualize the data captured by your prototype. You may also want to test how your device could be controlled remotely and make these features available to testers and collaborators.

To save you from having to find and pay for cloud services, MediaTek Cloud Sandbox offers you a free service that you can use to quickly prototype your planned cloud implementation.

Using a RESTful API you collect data from your devices, which you can view in a powerful web-based dashboard. The dashboard offers a range of display and graphing options. Then you can control your Wearables and IoT devices by issuing commands from the dashboard. In addition, a complementary smartphone app lets you review collected data and control your devices from anywhere.

Key Features

  • Define Wearables and IoT prototype device data and other properties
  • Define data types such as geo-location, temperature, humidity and more
  • Create multiple devices from one profile
  • Push and Pull data between a device and the sandbox using a RESTful API
  • Remotely control devices using states, such as switch-state and more
  • Visualize data graphically
  • Receive notifications when data are collected or changed
  • Manage and control remotely, using the complementary mobile app
  • Create reports about prototypes and collected data
  • Perform FOTA firmware updates
  • Control access to data and devices with granular security control
  • Includes full API reference, FAQ and set of tutorials

Access MediaTek Cloud Sandbox

MediaTek Labs Helps Simplify Wearables and IoT Development with Free Cloud Service

MediaTek Cloud Sandbox accelerates device prototyping by offering developers a complimentary cloud service to host prototype-device data

SPAIN, Barcelona – March 2, 2015 – MediaTek Labs, today announced general availability of its new Cloud Sandbox data platform to better help developers bring their ideas to life for the Internet of Things (IoT). The new service, which is free to all registered MediaTek Labs members globally, offers convenient storage of and access to data from wearable and IoT devices during prototyping.

“MediaTek recognizes the importance of a cloud-based IoT platform and playground to service developers and makers who are prototyping wearable or IoT devices”, said Marc Naddell, VP of MediaTek Labs. “With this complimentary offering from MediaTek Labs, IoT developers no longer need to set up and manage their own web server or source third-party cloud platform services. Instead they can focus on their IoT device prototyping and value proposition, accelerating the time from solution ideation to prototype and proof-of-concept”.

A considerable challenge for developers in the early stages of device creation is not only the management of large amounts of data but also a convenient and simple way to visualize the data and demo prototypes to collaborators. MediaTek Cloud Sandbox helps solve this with a variety of invaluable features , including:

  • Data storage and visual charting
  • Data monitoring with notifications
  • Device remote control
  • Firmware upgrades over-the-air (FOTA)
  • RESTful API support, TCP socket connection
  • Web or mobile app based access

MediaTek Cloud Sandbox (MCS) will be on display in MediaTek’s booth at Mobile World Congress – Hall 6, Stand 6E21 – with three compelling demonstrations, including:

  1. Wine Brewer – A MediaTek LinkIt™ ONE development board implementation that won first prize in ITRI Mobilehero 2014 competition in Taiwan.
  2. Weather Station – A LinkIt ONE development board implementation that gathers and pushes real-time temperature, humidity and pressure data to MCS, and is able to have its fan controlled from MCS and the MCS companion mobile app.
  3. MediaTek LinkIt Connect 7681 demo – A LinkIt Connect 7681 development board implementation and its companion mobile app to demonstrate real-time LED color control.

MediaTek Labs was launched in September 2014 and continues to provide developers, makers and service providers with SDKs, HDKs and documentation, as well as technical and business support. To learn more about MediaTek Cloud Sandbox and get access , visit http://labs.mediatek.com/mcs .


MediaTek Ventures Logo
II/5. MediaTek Ventures launches to enable a new generation of world-class companies

MediaTek Allocates US$300m to Invest in New Business Opportunities

SPAIN, Barcelona March1, 2015 – MediaTek, today announced the launch of MediaTek Ventures – a new strategic investment arm within the company.  Headquartered in Hsinchu, Taiwan, MediaTek Ventures will initially invest in startups in Greater China, Europe, Japan and North America, with a US$300m reserve.

MediaTek Ventures will actively invest into innovative startups in semiconductor-system-and devices, Internet infrastructure, services and IoT, with the goal of creating a collaborative ecosystem around MediaTek’s corporate objectives in communication, computing, online media and analytics.  Investments will include all stages of funding with a disciplinary approach focused on value creation.  Through MediaTek Ventures, the company is seeking to extend its 17 year heritage of innovation to the broader electronics value-chain, diversify product solutions, and monetize opportunities with the next generation of entrepreneurs.

“We will not constrain ourselves to any single region in pursuit of innovation and excellence. Through MediaTek Ventures, a new generation of world-class companies will be empowered. We are excited to enable entrepreneurs and start-ups in achieving their dreams and fostering companies that have the potential to create value to end-users around the world and solve the world’s biggest problems”, said David Ku, Chief Financial Officer, MediaTek.

Further details on the company’s investment strategy and roadmaps will be made available in the second half of 2015.

Entities interested in investment by MediaTek should send proposals to: ventures@mediatek.com. For more information, please visit www.mediatekventures.com.

March 5, 2015: MediaTek CFO David Ku on MediaTek Ventures at MWC 2015

MediaTek Ventures - Mission and current investment amount

MediaTek Investment Focus

MediaTek Cross-Platform Synergy and User Experience

MediaTek Geographic Focus

III. Stealth Strategic Initiatives (MWC 2015 timeframe)

III/1. SoC for Android Wear and Android based standalone wearables

Note that this initiative is also for the standalone Android based wearables (i.e. working with no reliance on an Android based smarthone) as shown by the new production line of MediaTek’s lead and pilot partner Burg Wearables: Android 4.4 based Smart 3G & WiFi WatchPhones of 55g weight (and up), 10mm depth (and up) [this same blog, March 15, 2015]

Charbax: Best of MWC: MediaTek MT2601 Smartwatch and Smart Glass!!

MediaTek launches their MT2601 Android Wear ready (soon) Smartwatch platform, and also they show off their Kopin micro LCD Smart Glass solution on MediaTek Aster MT2502. In my opinion, these are the best looking Smartwatch and Smartglass at Mobile World Congress 2015. The Smartwatch that MediaTek is showing is designed by GoerTek and it runs Android 4.4 for now but Android 5.0 with Android Wear UI is coming soon for the MT2601 platform according to MediaTek. MediaTek MT2502 is running an ARM11 core to run the MediaTek LinkIt OS while MediaTek MT2601 is a dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 to run a full Android Lollipop with Android Wear soon supported! This is perhaps the optimal low cost Smartwatch and Smart Glass solution for the market, finally available from MediaTek, with soon to come Lollipop thus Android Wear supported.

Specs of the GoerTek MediaTek MT2601 Smartwatch:
– 1.5” circular TFT LCD 320×320
– IPX7 waterproofing
– BT/BLE, Wi-Fi, GPS, 3G cellular supported
– Android 4.4 OS (Lollipop Android Wear soon!)
– PPG heart-rate sensing
– Built-in microphone and speaker

Remark: This GoerTek smartwatch uses the same MediaTek technology than the WatchPhones from Burg Wearables. The software technology is however quite better on the latter ones.

MediaTek Introduces MT2601 in Support of Google’s Android Wear Software

Higher energy efficiency and reduced component count of MT2601 in relation to competition translate into significant cost, size and usage time benefits

Las Vegas – Jan. 6, 2015 – MediaTek, a leading fabless semiconductor company for wireless communications and digital multimedia solutions, today announced its MT2601 System on Chip (SoC) for wearable devices based on Google’s Android Wear software. By enabling Android Wear on MT2601, MediaTek is offering a comprehensive platform solution for device makers to implement their own hardware and software, and introduces a multitude of possibilities in Android Wear devices for the fast-growing consumer class globally.

The MT2601 packs a robust set of features in its small size with 41.5 percent fewer components and lower current consumption when compared with other chipsets in the market. Its design advantages translate into lower bill of materials (BoM) costs, smaller printed circuit board (PCB) size and longer battery life, which in turn yield fashionable wearable devices with long usage times and affordable prices.

The MT2601 includes 1.2 GHz dual-core ARM Cortex-A7, ARM Mali-400 MP GPU, and supports qHD display resolution. The MT2601 interfaces with a whole host of external sensors and the wireless connectivity SoC MT6630 for Bluetooth – all in a PCBA footprint of less than 480 mm2. This small PCB size meets the design requirements of the widest variety of wearable devices in sports and fitness, location tracking, and various other categories. MediaTek is a strong supporter of Android Wear and will continue to evolve MT2601 to align with the Android Wear road map.

“The MT2601 has an incredibly small die size and is highly optimized for cost and power performance. The platform solution, comprised of MT2601 integrated with Android Wear software, will fuel the maker revolution and empower the application developer community worldwide to create a broad range of innovative applications and services,” said J.C. Hsu, General Manager of New Business Development at MediaTek.

The MT2601 is in mass production now and ready for inclusion in Android Wear devices.

Mediatek Announces MT6630, World’s First Five-in-One Combo Wireless Connectivity SOC for Mobile Devices

TAIWAN, Hsinchu – 25 February, 2014 – Mediatek today announced MT6630, the world’s first five-in-one combo wireless system-on-a-chip (SOC) to support full featured smartphones, tablets and other premium mobile devices.

The MT6630 dramatically reduces the component count and eBOM while improving ease-of-design for manufacturers by eliminating external low noise amplifiers (LNAs) and integrating the Wi-Fi 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz power amplifiers (PAs), Bluetooth PA, and transmit-receive (T/R) switch into a PCBA footprint less than 65 mm2.

Key features

  • Dual-band single-stream 802.11a/b/g/n/ac with 20/40/80MHz channel bandwidth
  • 802.11v time of flight protocol support and management engines to enable higher accuracy of indoor positioning via Wi-Fi
  • Advanced support for Wi-Fi Direct Services and Miracast™ optimization for easier pairing, increased robustness, advanced use-cases and lower power
  • Bluetooth 4.1 with Classic, High-Speed and Low-Energy support, and ANT+ for compatibility with the latest fitness tracking, health monitoring and point of information devices and applications
  • Concurrent tri-band reception of GPS, GLONASS, Beidou, Galileo and QZSS with industry leading sensitivity, low power, positioning accuracy, and the longest prediction engine
  • FM transceiver with RDS/RBDS
  • Integrated engines and algorithms for full concurrent operation and co-existence, including industry-leading throughput during LTE transmission

MT6630 delivers full concurrent operation of all 5 systems operating at maximum compute intensity with no degradation compared to single-system operation while offloading the mobile device CPU for design ease and extended battery life.

As a focus on low power and digital home convergence, the MT6630 uses a configurable PA architecture to save current at commonly used power levels, including those used for Miracast™ Wi-Fi Direct services. MT6630 implements advanced co-existence techniques, including for LTE to deliver industry-leading throughputs. MT6630 also supports Wi-Fi diversity for premium smartphones and tablets to improve antenna angle sensitivity and handheld scenarios.

“MT6630 makes it simple for manufacturers to bring mobile devices to market with sophisticated wireless features, lower power and uncompromised performance,” said SR Tsai, General Manager of MediaTek’s Connectivity Business Unit. “MT6630 furthers MediaTek’s focus to deliver the best experiences across the digital home and mobile applications by using its unique leadership position in digital TV host processors, smartphone platforms, and connectivity.”

The small-footprint design is available in 5 x 5mm WLCSP (Wafer Level Chip Scale Package) or a 7 x 7mm QFN (Quad Flat No-Leads) and requires only 44 components, which is around half that of other integrated wireless solutions.

Mediatek MT6630 is sampling now and complements the recently announced MT6595 octa-core SOC with LTE for premium mobile devices. The first commercially available devices to use MT6630 are expected in the second half of 2014.

Then there is a MediaTek Protea platform for Android based wearables:

For mobile networking the optional parts of the Protea have the following characteristics:
– 2G Quad Band GSM (900/1800/850/1900)
– 3G Mono Band WCDMA (2100 or 1900) GPRS, EDGE, HSDAP, HSDAP+


Potential generic tags when clustered (selected ones are in blue):

#1 CLUSTER:
strategy: 671,000,000
business development“: 164,000,000
time to market“:  70,200,000
ecosystem: 53,200,000
marketing strategy“: 34,500,000
business strategy“: 25,800,000
rebranding: 6,750,000
strategy development“: 5,720,000
market strategy“: 1,430,000
developer program“: 751,000
strategic investment“: 609,000
corporate objectives” 526,000
partner ecosystem“: 397,000
design partners“: 439,000
supply chain partners“: 331,000
investment focus“: 364,000
reduce time to market“: 305,000
business development strategy“: 417,000
strategy development process“: 268,000
ecosystem partners“: 177,000
innovative startups“: 159,000
enable entrepreneurs“: 39,300
semiconductor market“: 244,000
smartphone strategy“: 77,700
strategic reasoning” 58,200
semiconductor vendors“: 49,000
SoC market“: 28,800
chip strategy“: 17,000
SoC vendors“: 11,300
“semiconductor strategy”: 9,280
“SoC strategy”: 4,330
“fabless strategy”: 3,840
“MediaTek strategy”: 616

#2 CLUSTER:
SoC: 238,000,000
quad-core“: 60,700,000
octa-core“: 2,660,000
smartphone chip“: 207,000
mobile SoC“: 63,400
smartphone SoC“: 43,700
SoC family“: 35,500
tablet SoC“: 23,500
SoC market“: 28,700
smartphone SoC market“: 14,200
SoC vendors“: 11,300
system on a chip“: 733,000
system on chip“: 625,000
fabless semiconductor“: 323,000
“fabless semiconductor vendors”: 4,890

#3 CLUSTER:
smartphone market“: 964,000
“phone market”: 632,000
“high-end”: 159,000,000
high-end market“: 425,000
LTE-Smartphone“: 605,000
“high-end phone”: 221,000
high-end smartphone“: 444,000
high-end smartphone market“: 67,900
“premium phone”: 356,000
premium smartphone“: 348,000
“premium smartphones”: 94,400
premium market“: 467,000
superphone: 435,000
superphones: 264,000
“superphone market”: 4,640
super-mid“: 177,000
“super-mid market”: 5610
“super mid-range”: 5570
mid-range“: 61,000,000
mid-range smartphone“: 400,000
“mid-range smartphones”: 153,000
“mid-range market”: 89,500
mid range smartphones: 2,460,000
best mid range android phone: 15,800,000
android phone“: 30,200,000
android smartphone“: 13,800,000

#4 CLUSTER:
tablets: 578,000,000
Android tablet“: 22,200,000
Android tablets“: 15,100,000
tablet market“: 919,000
premium tablet“: 152,000
high-end tablet“: 111,000
tablet chips“: 26,000
“high-end tablet market”: 8,450
“premium tablet market”: 8,050

#5 CLUSTER:
64-bit“: 135,000,000
forefront of technology“: 8,740,000
“64-bit computing”: 411,000
extreme performance“: 630,000
CPU+GPU“: 1,010,000
heterogeneous computing“: 312,000
“Heterogeneous System Architecture”: 60,100
“Heterogeneous Multi-Processing”: 42,800
“heterogeneous computing with OpenCL”: 15,400
big.LITTLE“: 863,000
“ARM big.LITTLE”: 95,800
“big.LITTLE Architecture”: 22,400
“big.LITTLE computing”: 18,400
“big.LITTLE cluster”: 16,600
multi-core processing“: 153,000
GPU compute“: 92,300
display technology“: 1,070,000
HDTV: 84,200,000
“power efficiency”: 819,000
premium mobile computing“: 762,000
“premium mobile computing experience”: 17,800
LTE: 170,000,000
“LTE World Mode”: 3,220
“LTE WorldMode”: 2,280
“LTE with CDMA”: 3,660
integrated CDMA2000“: 13,400
development platform“: 928,000
reference design“: 940,000
cloud computing“: 114,000,000

The new Apple Watch pro and con

Watching all the videos* below the only conclusion could be that Apple did his best to achieve a new state-of-the-art, so now the final judgement is for the customers whether this device will be as revolutionary as its predecessors, the iPhone and the iPad. But for that we should wait till early 2015 when Apple Watch will be available.
* From BBC News, TechCrunch, IDG/PCWorld, The Verge, Bloomberg, CNET and Apple itself (the latters are embedded inside Apple’s press release)

Note: For the previous state-of-the-art see my earlier 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 [this same blog, May 12, 2014] post

BBC News:

Apple Watch: First Look – BBC News [BBC News YouTube channel, Sept 10, 2014]

Watch: The BBC’s Richard Taylor takes a look at Apple’s new smartwatch, which was unveiled in California on Tuesday.

TechCrunch:

Apple Watch First Look [TechCrunch YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

Matthew Panzarino gets a tour of the various features of Apple’s foray into smartwatches with their aptly-titled Watch device.

IDG/PCWorld:

Raw video: Apple introduces Apple Watch [PCWorld Video YouTube channel,Sept 9, 2014]

Apple introduced the Apple Watch at an event in Cupertino, California, on September 9, 2014

Tech Snap: Apple Watch, iPhone 6, iPhone 6 Plus debut in Cupertino [PCWorld Video YouTube channel,Sept 9, 2014]

Apple announced its long-awaited Watch along with two new iPhones at a huge media event in Cupertino Tuesday. Martyn Williams recaps the news.

The Verge:

Apple Watch hands-on [The Verge YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

Apple’s long awaited smartwatch is finally here. The Verge takes a hands-on look at the Apple Watch.

Apple Watch explained in under 2 minutes [The Verge YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

Apple finally enters the smartwatch race with the Apple Watch. Like others, it’s a fitness tracker, but the Watch features a unique digital crown and offers numerous customization options.

Apple Watch announcement in 6 minutes [The Verge YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

Today Apple unveiled its first smartwatch, the Apple Watch. Here’s everything from today’s event in 6 minutes.

Bloomberg:

Apple Watch Hands-On: Was It Worth the Wait? [Bloomberg News YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

John Maeda, a design partner at KPCB, discusses the design of the Apple Watch with Emily Chang on “Bloomberg West.”

Apple Watch is Here: Why Apple’s Big Bet Is a Big Deal [Bloomberg News YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

Now that Apple has entered the watch market with the Apple Watch, Bloomberg’s Sam Grobart takes a look at two things: the current state of play in smartwatches and whose world gets upended if Apple’s bet pays off.

CNET:

CNET Update – Apple Watch offers new way to communicate, pay [CNET YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

http://cnet.com/cnet-update In a sea of smartwatches, the Apple Watch stands out with new tricks — including Apple Pay. CNET’s Bridget Carey sums up Apple’s new Watch, payment system and two iPhone 6 models.

Apple boldly enters wearable market with Apple Watch [CNET YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

Apple CEO Tim Cook introduces the long-awaited wristwatch device and explains the key feature for navigating features on the watch, the digital crown.

 

The Apple press release and related videos:

Apple Unveils Apple Watch—Apple’s Most Personal Device Ever

Apple – Apple Watch – Reveal [Apple YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

The new Apple Watch is not a single object, but a whole range of products enabling millions of unique designs and unparalleled personalization, both in appearance and capability.

CUPERTINO, California—September 9, 2014—Apple® today unveiled Apple Watch™—its most personal device ever—featuring revolutionary new technologies and a pioneering user interface with a beautiful design that honors the rich tradition of precision watchmaking. Apple Watch introduces a specially designed and engineered Digital Crown that provides an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate. The Digital Crown is Apple’s most revolutionary navigation tool since the iPod® Click Wheel and iPhone® Multi-Touch™. Apple Watch will enable you to communicate in new ways right from your wrist by sending and receiving messages, answering calls to your iPhone, and with Digital Touch, sending something as personal as your own heartbeat. Apple Watch also introduces comprehensive health and fitness apps that can help people lead healthier lives. Apple Watch is available in three distinct collectionsApple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition.

“Apple introduced the world to several category-defining products, the Mac, iPod, iPhone and iPad,” said Tim Cook, Apple’s CEO. “And once again Apple is poised to captivate the world with a revolutionary product that can enrich people’s lives. It’s the most personal product we’ve ever made.”

Apple – Apple Watch – Introducing Apple Watch [Apple YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

Apple Watch is the most personal product Apple has ever made, because it’s the first one designed to be worn. Narrated by Jony Ive, Senior Vice President, Design at Apple.

“With Apple Watch, we’ve developed multiple technologies and an entirely new user interface specifically for a device that’s designed to be worn. It blurs the boundary between physical object and user interface,” said Jony Ive, Apple’s senior vice president of Design. “We’ve created an entire range of products that enable unparalleled personalization.”

Apple Watch introduces a revolutionary design and iOS-based user interface created specifically for a smaller device. Apple Watch features the Digital Crown, an innovative way to scroll, zoom and navigate fluidly, without obstructing the display. The Digital Crown also serves as the Home button and a convenient way to access Siri®. The Retina® display on Apple Watch features Force Touch, a technology that senses the difference between a tap and a press, providing a new way to quickly and easily access controls within apps. Apple Watch introduces the Taptic Engine and a built-in speaker that together discreetly enable an entirely new vocabulary of alerts and notifications you can both hear and feel. Apple custom-designed its own S1 SiP (System in Package) to miniaturize an entire computer architecture onto a single chip. Apple Watch also features Wi-Fi 802.11b/g and Bluetooth 4.0 to pair seamlessly with your iPhone.

Apple Watch comes in three distinct collections—Apple Watch, Apple Watch Sport and Apple Watch Edition—available in two different sizes, 38 mm and 42 mm. The beautifully designed and durable enclosures are crafted from custom alloys of polished or space black stainless steel, space gray or silver anodized aluminum and 18-karat rose or yellow gold. Apple also created an entire range of watch straps: the high-performance elastomer Sport Band; the Milanese Loop in a flexible magnetic stainless steel mesh; the Leather Loop in soft, quilted leather that conceals magnets for quick fastening and adjustment; the leather Modern Buckle, which closes with a solid metal clasp; the leather Classic Buckle; and the stainless steel Link Bracelet. Apple Watch comes with a unique charging system that combines Apple’s MagSafe® technology with inductive charging for a quick connection that snaps into place.

Apple Watch is an extremely accurate timepiece that’s also customizable for personal expression. Apple Watch comes with 11 watch faces ranging from traditional analog faces to new faces like the dynamic Timelapse face; the Astronomy face with its interactive, real-time 3D model of the earth, sun, moon and planets; and the Solar face, a contemporary sundial. Apple Watch can be personalized in appearance and capability with additional information such as upcoming events, moonphases or your activity level, enabling millions of possible configurations.

Taking advantage of its location on your wrist, Apple Watch provides timely information that can be viewed at a glance. Smart Replies and dictation let you respond quickly to messages, and with Handoff, you can start a message on your Apple Watch and continue where you left off on your iPhone. Swipe up from the watch face for Glances that quickly show you information you care about, such as your current location, stocks or your next meeting. Pressing the side button brings up Friends, a view of your favorite people, so you can contact them quickly and easily. Digital Touch allows you to send a sketch, a gentle tap, an audio message through Walkie Talkie or even your own heartbeat. Apple Watch lets you interact quickly and conveniently with the world around you, so you can pay for coffee using Apple Pay™,* board a plane with a Passbook® boarding pass, control your Apple TV® or get directions.

Apple – Apple Watch – Health and Fitness [Apple YouTube channel, Sept 9, 2014]

Apple Watch unites the capabilities of an all-day fitness tracker and a highly advanced sports watch in one device you can wear all the time. Narrated by Jay Blahnik, Director of Fitness, Health Technologies at Apple.

Apple Watch includes a groundbreaking Activity app designed to help motivate you to be more active throughout the day, and an all-new Workout app designed to provide the metrics you need during dedicated workout sessions. Apple Watch uses the accelerometer, a built-in heart rate sensor, GPS and Wi-Fi from your iPhone to provide a comprehensive picture of your daily activity. The Activity app measures three separate aspects of movement: calories burned, brisk activity and how often you stand up during the day. The Workout app provides goal-setting and pacing during popular session-based workouts, such as running and cycling. The companion Fitness app on iPhone collects your activity data so you can see your activity history in greater detail. Apple Watch uses this history to suggest personal, realistic goals, reward fitness milestones and keep you motivated.

Apple introduces WatchKit, providing new tools and APIs for developers to create unique experiences designed for the wrist. With Apple Watch, developers can create WatchKit apps with actionable notifications and Glances that provide timely information. Starting later next year, developers will be able to create fully native apps for Apple Watch.

Pricing & Availability

Apple Watch will be available in three collections. Apple Watch, with a polished or space black stainless steel case and a choice of straps; Apple Watch Sport, with a space gray or silver anodized aluminum case and Sport Band; and Apple Watch Edition, with an 18-karat rose or yellow gold case and a choice of straps exclusive to this collection. Apple Watch straps include the Sport Band in black, blue, green, pink and white; the Classic Buckle in black and midnight blue; the Leather Loop in bright blue, light brown and stone; the Modern Buckle in midnight blue, brown, soft pink, rose gray and bright red; the Milanese Loop in stainless steel; and the Link Bracelet in brushed stainless steel and polished space black. Apple Watch will be available in early 2015 starting at $349 (US). Apple Watch is compatible with iPhone 5, iPhone 5c, iPhone 5s, iPhone 6 or iPhone 6 Plus running the latest version of iOS 8. 

* Apple Pay is only available in the US.

More information:
Overview     Design      Features     Technology    Gallery      Films      Explore the collection 

Regarding development see:
Apple Watch apps and partnerships announced, powered by ‘WatchKit’ [The Verge, Sept 9, 2014]
Third-party developers will be able to make Apple Watch apps with WatchKit [iPhone Hacks, Sept 9, 2014]

E-Ink Innovations and new commercial products at IFA 2014

E-Ink Innovations @ IFA 2014 [lesen.net YouTube channel, Sept 5, 2014]

New commercial products:

  1. Sony
  2. Alcatel E-Ink Cover [SmartCover] –> E-Card (or TCL Phone Cover)

1. Sony

Sony expands SmartWear Experience range with two new additions for Lifelog – SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 [Sony Mobile press release, Sept 3, 2014]

image

    • SmartWear Experience is Sony’s vision for smart, wearable technology founded on three principles: lifelogging, flexible style and intelligent notifications
    • SmartBand Talk is a powerful lifelogger, bringing call handling and voice control from your wrist, with an always-on curved 1.4” e-paper display
    • SmartWatch 3 is the first smartwatch specifically designed for the latest Android Wear updates
    • Desktop web interface, and open API for Lifelog app later in 2014, bringing new experiences and further opportunity for personalisation
    • Announcement of Roxy collaboration for limited edition SmartBand SWR10 styles

Sony Mobile today announced the addition of two new products to its SmartWear Experience range, Sony SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3. Both talk to the popular Lifelog, the accompanying app designed to help you understand more about the way to live and move, so you can improve and enrich your life.

SmartWear from Sony – waterproof* wearable technology [Sony Experia YouTube channel, Sept 3, 2014]

Looking for innovative wearable tech? SmartBand, SmartBand Talk, and SmartWatch 3 are waterproof* and wearable 24/7. Log your life, smash your fitness goals, and automatically track activities. The sleek and durable designs in a range of contemporary colours mean you stay stylish – wherever you are, whatever the weather.

SmartWatch 3 from Sony – The stylish way to handle music, calls and life logging.

The time has come to wear Android technology on your wrist. A beautiful stainless steel silver core unit lies within the changeable wrist straps, so SmartWatch 3 changes as often as your wardrobe does. Experience real time life logging and the power to handle messages and calls even when your hands are full. With waterproof* durability, SmartWatch 3 will even work come rain or shine. It’s here, it’s waiting and it’s all in the details.

Keep up with your life with the Lifelog Android app from Sony

Connect your Sony SmartWear to the innovative Lifelog app on your Xperia smartphone, then automatically track your activities day and night. Whether you’re walking, running, or even climbing stairs, Lifelog tracks your movements, communications, entertainment and physical activity then lets you look back on the day to see where you went and how you got there – including pictures you took and music you listened to. Why track only steps and calories when you can log your whole day?

SmartBand Talk – waterproof* wearable technology from Sony

SmartBand Talk from Sony doesn’t just make great arm candy, it can also handle calls, activity tracking, and voice commands. Why settle for good tech, when you have have great tech?

Sony Smartband Talk – innovative wearable technology and call handling

Experience the innovative freedom of wearable waterproof technology with Sony Smartband Talk. Equipped with intelligent Lifelog technology that tracks your activity 24/7, a smart E-Ink display and voice control straight from your wrist. Take calls on the run, view appointments at a glance and listen to your favourite music, hands-free.

“Life is a journey, and journeys are made up of stories and experiences that define you – this is the underlying principle for Lifelog, the Android app at the heart of our SmartWear Experience. We’re going beyond mere fitness tracking and number crunching, to help you log and preserve those emotional moments that matter” said Kunimasa Suzuki, President and CEO, Sony Mobile Communications. ”As a pioneer of smart and wearable technology, SmartBand Talk, SmartWatch 3 and Lifelog don’t merely affirm Sony’s leadership in the space, but as the innovators who dare to be different – bringing the world choice; products and services no else can, or will.”

SmartBand Talk – a powerful lifelogging wearable, with intuitive features

SmartBand Talk is a powerful lifelogger, built for users who live life to the fullest.

With its built-in microphone and speaker, SmartBand Talk comes equipped with a short call function so you can talk into it and hear your caller, with HD Voice support – perfect for when you’re on the move or your phone is out of reach. Through Sony’s integrated Voice Control1technology, you can also assign your own sounds to life bookmarks and use your voice to carry out specific smartphone operations.

SmartBand Talk’s curved, always-on 1.4” e-paper display is a fresh creative approach, based on consumer feedback. It’s low-power but highly visible and clear; you can monitor Lifelog activity, view notifications and the time at a glance.

New built-in accelerometer and altimeter sensor technology feels how you move – and how much – to provide an accurate overview of your daily physical activity; whether it be walking, running or climbing. You can see how active you were and how you have been communicating, as it pulls all of your information from your smartphone and then enables you to view it on its  e-paper display screen, wherever and whenever you like.

As you’d expect, SmartBand Talk is waterproof2 (IP68 rated), and launch styles will include Black and White, with extra vibrant colours available later in the year – so something for everyone, whether blending in with your work clothes or a fun accessory to a casual outfit, allowing you to express your individual style.

SmartWatch 3 – Sony’s latest generation “smartwatch”, powered by Android Wear

After leading the market since 2007, SmartWatch 3 is Sony’s latest generation SmartWatch, but the first specifically designed for the latest Android Wear updates in close collaboration with Google. This partnership matches Sony’s leadership in smart, wearable products with Google’s software and platform expertise to create a unique wearable experience founded on both hardware and software innovation.

Android Wear organizes your information, suggests what you need, and shows it to you before you even ask. You can get messages from your friends, appointment notifications, and weather updates at a glance. It could be flight information, tips based on your interests or messages of any kind, so user input is seldom necessary. But if you need to interact with Android Wear, voice is easiest way.

Even without your Android smartphone, SmartWatch 3 is a fun and useful accessory with impressive standalone functionality. The built-in microphone, and Accelerometer, Compass, Gyro and GPS sensor technology means more accurate, more powerful lifelogging.

SmartWatch 3 offers significant step ups from SmartWatch 2, including a 1.6” 320×320 TFT LCD Transflective display for visibility in bright sunlight, set within a stainless steel back panel, for a premium look and feel. It is of course waterproof, rated IP683 – and charges via a standard microUSB port.

It has a built-in 4GB local memory, that means you can sync playlists, and simply connect with a Bluetooth headset to listen. You can do this before a run, leaving the smartphone at home and still have great music offline – you can also track that run with GPS and Lifelog.

It will be available in Classic (Black) and Sport (Lime) editions, with extra colour straps available in Pink and White after launch.

Lifelog – a personal Android application, that captures and tells your story

Downloadable from the Google Play Store, Lifelog is a fun Android app built to enable you to set and achieve goals, bookmark memorable moments, and revisit memories any time, so that you get to know yourself better.

SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 both enable and present lifelogging activity and data on the wrist, but also connect to the application on your Android smartphone via Bluetooth® and NFC, once you connect to your Sony Entertainment Network3 account.

Sony is previewing a new web interface login for Lifelog, accessible from the Sony Mobile website later this year, designed to give users even more visibility and control over their lifestyle data. And, during 2014, Sony will open up the API for partners to integrate services with Lifelog or build completely fresh experiences.

Sony outlined that together with accessories brand Proporta, it would soon share SmartBand SWR10 collections featuring licensed designs from leading labels, Ted Baker and Barbour.

Sony also introduced a new collaboration with famous and popular lifestyle brand – Roxy, the female surf, snowboard, clothing and accessories brand – to bring limited edition SmartWear styles to market later this year.

SmartBand Talk and SmartWatch 3 – the fashionable new additions to Sony’s SmartWear Experience range will launch later in Autumn 2014.

Notes
SmartBand Talk     SmartWatch 3     SmartWear


2. Alcatel E-Ink Cover [SmartCover] –> E-Card (or TCL Phone Cover)

From ALCATEL ONETOUCH unveils the [6” phablet] HERO – their headline act at IFA 2013 [press release, Sept 4, 2013]

image
Extend your display with the E Ink Cover. Read newspapers and magazines on a second screen with this fresh digital experience. The technology enables users to read as if physical ink and paper on their mobile device with the stable image and wider viewing angle.

E Ink SmartCover [prototype] for Alcatel One Touch Hero [ARMdevices.net YouTube channel, Sept 16, 2013]

The Alcatel One Touch Hero has a E Ink display cover which can display system functions and can act as a second screen for reading ebooks. The E Ink cover attaches to the device using a docking pin on the side of the device. The E Ink screen by displaying content rather than having the LCD do it you save power. The final version of the cover will have the ability to magnetically clip to the back. The E Ink cover at this time only supports the built in e-reader app but 3rd support should come in the future. The One touch hero has a 6″ full hd screen with pen support, the MT6589T 1.5Ghz Quad-core processor, 8gb and 16gb options with Micro SD expansion, 2gb of ram, and 3400mah battery.

From ALCATEL ONETOUCH unveils the HERO 2 [press release, Sept 4, 2014]

HERO 2: the centre of a smart ecosystem built to users’ needs

With a host of companion devices, HERO 2 adapts to every need. It is the centre of an ecosystem of creative connected devices that users can carry, put on their desk or connect to their TV. An array of MagicFlip covers provide customised capabilities: MagicFlip DJ for music, MagicFlip LED lights up with information about missed calls, alerts or the time.

With the compact companion device Sidekick 2, users can remotely control TV, music and more. It also acts as an extension to users’ phones, allowing them to access messages, contact lists and more. The portable E-Card allows users to read notes, maps, e-books with the comfort of paper. The SmartBook functions as a smartphone in laptop form, while TVLink connects the HERO 2 to larger screens wirelessly.

With these features, accessories and companion devices, ALCATEL ONETOUCH ensures a truly versatile experience through connectivity to multiple screens. Everyone can invent their own personalized HERO 2, and unleash their unique creativity.

The HERO 2 will be available on the market in September 2014.

Reading comics with E-Card [Michael Zhou YouTube channel, July 2, 2014]

E-Card is a reading companion with E Ink display. It’s a convenient and eyestrain free pocket reading device. It’s easy to read content stored on your mobile phone via bluetooth. And also support Notifications(Incoming call, SMS, E-Mail, Alarm), weather and push images. The following is the demonstration of reading comics via E-Card.

Imagination’s MIPS based wearable and IoT ecosystem is the alternative

image… the technological alternative relative to what is given in the 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 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 17, 2014] post

Wearable and IOT [designreuse YouTube channel, May 2, 2014]

By Mike Hopkins, Senior Technology marketig Specialist, Imagination Technologies at ChipEx 2014, Tel Aviv, Israel

Imagination highlights solutions for IoT and wearables at EE Live!

Featuring hands-on demonstrations of technologies
and end products

EE Live! Conference & Expo, San Jose, CA – 1st April, 2014 – Imagination Technologies (IMG.L) will highlight its expertise and momentum in IoT and wearables at the EE Live! Conference and Expo, being held March 31st – April 3rd at the McEnery Convention Center in San Jose, CA.

Imagination is working closely with partners to enable creation of SoCs for IoT and wearable devices that feature extended battery life and enhanced security, as well as device and infrastructure ecosystems, all driven by the right IP solutions.

Says Kevin Kitagawa, director of strategic marketing at Imagination: “Imagination has all of the IP needed to create complete, class-leading IoT and wearable solutions, and our technologies are already powering numerous SoCs designed for these applications. Through industry initiatives such as the AllSeen Alliance, and key partners including Google, Ineda, Ingenic, Microchip Technology and others, we are building the ecosystems and technologies needed for a new generation of IoT and wearable SoCs.”

In its booth number 816 at EE Live!, Imagination will feature hands-on demonstrations and highlight many of its technologies for IoT and wearables including:

  • MIPS Warrior CPUs: a highly scalable family of CPUs including the new MIPS M-class M51xx cores, which have features that make them ideal for IoT and wearables including DSP engine, small code size, hardware virtualization support and ultra-secure processing
  • PowerVR GPUs: the de facto standard for mobile and embedded graphics including the new PowerVR Rogue 6XE G6050, one of the industry’s smallest OpenGL ES 3.0-compliant GPUs delivering high fillrate and exceptional efficiency—perfect for a range of high-end IoT devices
  • Ensigma Series4 Explorer radio communications processors (RPUs): a unique universal and highly scalable solution for integrating global connectivity and broadcast communications capabilities into SoCs, including solutions for Wi-Fi and Bluetooth LE (low Energy)
  • FlowCloud: an application-independent technology platform for emerging IoT and cloud-connected devices, enabling rapid construction and management of device-to-device and device-to-cloud applications.
  • PowerVR Series5 video processors (VPUs): the most efficient multi-standard and multi-stream video decoders and encoders, which offer a range of solutions for video intensive IoT applications such as security cameras or wearable devices such as smart glasses
  • PowerVR Raptor imaging processor cores: scalable and highly-configurable solutions which join other PowerVR multimedia cores to form a complete, integrated vision platform that saves power and bandwidth for today’s camera applications and other smart sensors
  • Caskeid: unique, patented technology that delivers exceptionally accurate synchronized wireless multiroom connected audio streaming for audiophile-quality stereo playback with less than 25µs synchronization accuracy
  • Codescape: a complete, proven and powerful debug solution that supports the full range of MIPS CPUs, offers Linux and RTOS awareness features, and provides heterogeneous debug of SoCs using one or more MIPS and Ensigma processors

Imagination will also feature IoT and wearable related products and technologies including:

  • New MIPS-based IoT development platform “Newton” from Ingenic Semiconductor, which integrates CPU, Flash, LPDDR, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, PMU and various sensors on a single board around the size of an SD card
  • imageDevelopment boards for MIPS including those for Microchip Technology’s 32-bit PIC32MZ MCUs and a new a complete low-cost MIPS-based Android and Linux platform for system developers
  • Comprehensive development tools for all MIPS CPUs, including the latest GNU tools for Linux and bare-metal embedded systems from Mentor Graphics’ Sourcery CodeBench, and Imperas’ high-speed instruction-accurate OVP models and QuantumLeap parallel simulation acceleration technology
  • Smartwatches that are shipping today based on the MIPS architecture, including the SpeedUp Smartwatch as well as those from Tomoon, HiWatch, SmartQ, Geak and others
  • Toumaz’ solutions for the SensiumVitals® System, an ultra-low power wireless patch remotely managed via Imagination’s FlowCloud technology
  • FlowTalk and FlowAudio – Imagination’s solutions for connected audio and cross-platform V.VoIP/VoLTE, leveraging the FlowCloud

Imagination’s vice president of strategic marketing, Amit Rohatgi, will participate in a Technology Workshop during EE Live!, “The Role of Embedded Systems in the Internet of Everything,” sponsored by the Chinese American Semiconductor Professionals Association (CASPA). The event will be held on Wednesday, April 2nd, from 5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. For more information and to register, visit http://www.caspa.com/node/6349.

About Imagination Technologies
Imagination is a global technology leader whose products touch the lives of billions of people throughout the world. The company’s broad range of silicon IP (intellectual property) includes the key multimedia, communications and general purpose processors needed to create the SoCs (Systems on Chips) that power all mobile, consumer, automotive, enterprise, infrastructure, IoT and embedded electronics. These are complemented by its unique software and cloud IP and system solution focus, enabling its licensees and partners get to market quickly by creating and leveraging highly differentiated SoC platforms. Imagination’s licensees include many of the world’s leading semiconductor manufacturers, network operators and OEMs/ODMs who are creating some of the world’s most iconic and disruptive products. See:www.imgtec.com.

Creating next-generation chips from the ground-up for wearables and IoT [Imagination Blog, April 1, 2014]

There has been a lot of momentum lately around Imagination’s initiatives and technologies focused on creating a new generation of chips built specifically for IoT and wearable use cases. We thought we’d take a moment to fill you in.

The problem

Today, low-end IoT devices and wearables typically use multiple general purpose chips to achieve microcontroller, sensor and radio functionality, leading to expensive, compromised solutions. At the high end, devices such as smartwatches use existing smartphone chips, leading to overpowered, expensive devices.

The solution from Imagination

To reach the incredible volumes predicted by analysts, SoCs for wearable devices and IoT must be designed from the ground-up. Working with our partners, Imagination is enabling the design of new chips that extend battery life, enhance data and device security and feature the right CPU, graphics, video and multi-standard connectivity solutions. We’re also focused on building the needed standards, operating environments, and other ecosystem technologies to support these chips.

Imagination is proud to already have our IP in such SoCs, and our customers are giving us great feedback on our wearables roadmap. Together with industry initiatives such as the AllSeen Alliance or the cool new Android Wear from Google, and key partners includingIneda Systems, Ingenic Semiconductor, Microchip Technology and others, we are taking a leading role in building the ecosystems and technologies needed for a new generation of SoCs.

Extending battery life

With the always-on requirement for sensors in most wearables and IoT devices, together with their tiny form factors, battery life is a more critical concern for designers than ever before. Using power and area efficient silicon IP is therefore a must.

In wearable and IoT applications that require a CPU, an intelligent hierarchy of CPUs optimized for specific tasks can lead to extremely low power consumption. For example, an SoC can use a MIPS CPU such as a new Warrior M-class core, which achieves the highest CoreMark/MHz scores for MCU-class processors, to perform the function of monitoring sensors and also to manage the connectivity peripherals. When the SoC needs to process or analyze data, the system can wake up other CPUs in the system to perform their dedicated tasks. Such an implementation offers key benefits for extending battery life in wearables and IoT devices.

Ineda, a developer of low-power SoCs, is uniting various Imagination IP cores in its ultra-low power Wearable Processing Units (WPUs) designed to reduce power consumption in a variety of devices, including fitness bands, smartwatches and IoT. With unique combinations of Imagination’s MIPS CPUs and highly efficient PowerVR GPUs, the new Ineda WPUs represent one of the first SoC architectures built specifically for this new generation of devices.

image

Ineda Systems’ WPUs will address the wearable platforms from a ground-up manner

Enhancing security

As more and more devices are connected to the cloud and each other, security becomes an ever-growing concern. Imagination has the right IP for public key infrastructure and crypto functions needed to provide trusted execution environments, secure boot, secure code updates, key protection, device authentication and IP/transport layer data security to transmit data to the cloud. Virtualization and security features across the range of MIPS Series5 Warrior CPU cores make them ideal for meeting next-generation security needs.

In space-constrained, low-power systems such as IoT or wearable devices, a virtualization based approach could be used to implement a multiple-guest environment where one guest running a real-time kernel manages the secure transmission of sensor data, while another guest, under RTOS control, can provide the multimedia capabilities of the system. For applications that demand an even higher level of security, the new MIPS Warrior M-class cores include tamper resistant features that provide countermeasures to unwanted access to the processor operating state. A secure debug feature increases the benefit by preventing external debug probes from accessing and interrogating the core internals.

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MIPS M51xx CPUs support multiple guest operating systems

Driving new ecosystems and standardization efforts

Due to small device size, as well as a new and different functionality required in emerging IoT and wearable devices, much of the device and infrastructure ecosystems will be different than what’s needed for smartphones and other connected products. This includes standards in the areas of APIs, device-to-device communications, data analytics, device authentication, low-power connectivity and protocols, and even operating environments, which are critical to driving consumer and industry adoption.

At Imagination we are partnering with Google and other industry players on Android Wear, a project that extends Android to wearables, beginning with smartwatches. Already a strong player in the Android ecosystem, MIPS is one of the three CPU architectures fully supported by Google in each Android release, including the latest Android 4.4 KitKat.

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Images from the Android Wear Developer Preview site

To drive ecosystem development for IoT, we’ve also recently joined the AllSeen Alliance, which has been formed to create an open, universal development framework to drive the widespread adoption of products, systems and services that support IoT. The goal is to enable companies and individuals to create interoperable products that can discover, connect and interact directly with other nearby devices, systems and services regardless of transport layer, device type, platform, operating system or brand.

Imagination’s own application-independent FlowCloud technology platform enables rapid construction and management of M2M connected services. Designed to address the needs of emerging IoT and cloud-connected devices, FlowCloud enables easy product registration and updates as well as access to partner-enabled services including FlowAudio, a cloud-based music and radio service that includes hundreds of thousands of radio stations, on-demand programs, podcasts and more. Imagination intends for FlowCloud to be easily integrated with products using the AllSeen Alliance framework.

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Imagination’s FlowCloud enables device-centric services including registration, security, storage, notifications, updates and remote control

Flexible, multi-standard connectivity

Wearables and IoT devices today use existing connectivity standards, such as Wi-Fi or Bluetooth LE (Low Energy), but new standards, such as ultra-low power Wi-Fi extensions, are still in development. This means that choosing future-proofed, flexible solutions is a must for companies who want to create a product today that will still be viable when new standards are ratified.

Imagination’s programmable, multi-standard Ensigma radio processors (RPUs) can accommodate such emerging standards with a powerful and uniquely optimized balance of programmability and hardware configurability, delivering impressive functionality in compact silicon area.

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The right IP for the application

Imagination’s IP is already integrated into wearable and IoT products that are shipping today. This includes a number of smartwatches that leverage the MIPS architecture and smart glasses with PowerVR graphics and video.

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Imagination’s IP is already integrated into wearable products such as the SpeedUp Smartwatch, the world’s first Android 4.4 KitKat smartwatch

For example, Ingenic Semiconductor is offering a new MIPS-based IoT development platform called Newton. The Ingenic Newton platform integrates a MIPS-based XBurst CPU, multimedia (2D graphics, multi-standard VPU) low-power memory (mobile DDR3/DDR2/LPDDR and flash) 4-in-1 connectivity (Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, FM) and various sensors on a single board around the size of an SD card (find out more about Ingenic Newton here).

In addition, MIPS-based 32-bit PIC32MZ MCUs from Microchip Technology [all details are given here in the 2nd half of this post] are ideal for a number of wearable and IoT applications.

For designers of next-generation SoCs, Imagination’s broad IP portfolio offers scalable solutions for their specific application. This includes our MIPS Series5 Warrior CPUs including the new MIPS M-class M51xx cores, PowerVR Rogue GPUs including the PowerVR G6050, Ensigma Series4 Explorer RPUs with solutions for Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE and more, PowerVR Series5 video processors (VPUs), PowerVR Raptor imaging processor cores, our unique Caskeid audio synchronization technology, and of course FlowCloud.

MIPS Powered Wearables from Imagination Technologies [RCR Wireless News YouTube channel, Jan 15, 2014]

Mike Hopkins, Marketing Manager for Imagination Technologies talks about their innovation of their MIPS processor in creating smart wearable devices. All of the watches in the video are running full Android operating systems, capable of running any Android app.These smart watches are available now to the general public.

Smart watches: The first wave of wearable and connected devices integrating Imagination IP [Imagination Blog, Jan 27, 2014]

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a new wave of announcements related to Internet of Things (IoT) and other ultra-portable devices integrating Imagination IP. One of the biggest buzz words right now is wearable devices; there were several wearable concepts introduced at CES 2014, covering any and every use case, from augmented and virtual reality or entertainment to fitness, health, and many more.

At Imagination, we are well prepared to deliver innovative hardware and software IP that has been specifically designed to address the rapid growth in demand for these applications. Imagination is the only IP company that can deliver a full suite of low-power, feature-rich technologies encompassing CPU, graphics, video, vision, connectivity, cloud services and beyond. Our market-leading PowerVR GPUs and VPUs, efficient MIPS CPUs, innovative Ensigma RPUs and other IP solutions create the perfect  foundation for developing new processors for ultra low-power wearables that will be soon find their way into a myriad of devices such as smart watches, health and fitness devices and more.

MIPS and smart watches

One of the companies that have been at the forefront of innovation in the mobile and wearable market is Ingenic. Their MIPS-based XBurst SoC is an innovative MIPS32-based apps processor which redefines the performance and power consumption criteria for modern embedded SoCs.

Among the recent design wins, one interesting use case for the MIPS architecture is the smart watch. There were several smart watch designs on display on our booth at CES 2014; this article is a quick summary of what we and our partners were showcasing on the show floor.

  • imageThe GEAK smart watch runs stock Android 4.1 out of the box, can be used to monitor your heartbeat and blood pressure, and acts as a pedometer or smartphone remote to snap pictures. The GEAK smart watch is a water-resistant (IP3X) device and comes with a 1.55″ color IPS screen.
  • The NextONE smart watch from YiFang Digital uses the Android 4.1 OS to create imagean open architecture system that can run any verified third party applications. The smart watch is customizable to every aspect of a user’s life, from communicating with work and friends to health and fitness. The NextONE smartwatch improves the smartphone experience by making the information a user wants accessible at any time.
  • Tomoon T-Fire is another exciting smart watch design coming out of China. It has an innovative curved E-ink screen measuring 1.73″, it runs Android 4.3 and is expected to ship soon. It currently comes in three colors and promises to deliver on the fitness front, with a trio of sensors (gyroscope, g-sensor, compass).
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  • SmartQ Z Watch promises to deliver an incredible standby time, can record motion data and even analyzes the quality of your sleep. It provides good water resistance, can pair up with your smartphone and tablet and doubles as an MP3 player too.image

The smart wearables of the future

Wearable electronics cannot accommodate the larger batteries of their bigger counterparts (smartphones, tablets) so ultra-portable devices must use SoCs that have low power consumption. Because our technologies have been built around efficiency, we can help our partners design highly competitive solutions that enable them to achieve design wins in multiple markets. Companies looking for proven, low power multimedia and connectivity IP can rely on Imagination to provide the building blocks for IoT-ready chips.

A recent example is Ineda who have licensed PowerVR GPU and MIPS CPU IP to design System-on-Chip solutions for portable consumer electronics like wearable devices. Ineda CEO Dasaradha Gude says that Imagination’s IP cores provide the power efficiency required for wearable devices to succeed but also accelerate time to market, since everything they needed was provided by Imagination which simplified all the integration work.

Smart glasses: The first wave of wearable and connected devices integrating Imagination IP [Imagination Blog, Jan 23 2014]

Over the past few months, we’ve seen a new wave of announcements related to Internet of Things (IoT) and other ultra-portable devices integrating Imagination IP. One of the biggest buzz words right now is wearable devices; there were several wearable concepts introduced at CES 2014, covering any and every use case, from augmented and virtual reality or entertainment to fitness, health, and many more.

At Imagination, we are well prepared to deliver innovative hardware and software IP that has been specifically designed to address the rapid growth in demand for these applications. Imagination is the only IP company that can deliver a full suite of low-power, feature-rich technologies encompassing CPU, graphics, video, vision, connectivity, cloud services and beyond. Our market-leading PowerVR GPUs and VPUs, efficient MIPS CPUs, innovative Ensigma RPUs and other IP solutions create the perfect  foundation for developing new processors for ultra low-power wearables that will be soon find their way into a myriad of devices such as smart watches, health and fitness devices and more.

PowerVR and smart glasses

An example of a type of wearable device that has benefited from Imagination’s IP is smart glasses. Google Glass has been the first; featuring a Texas Instruments OMAP4430 processor with a PowerVR SGX540 GPU, Glass is able to take pictures, record videos, search the internet, and navigate maps.

But in the hand of ingenious developers, it can do so much more. For example, a recent article in the MIT Technology Review highlights an app that can recognize objects in front of a person wearing a Google Glass device.

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This type of functionality opens up a whole new range of applications related to computer vision and augmented reality, two applications where wearables have clear potential.

However, there were multiple PowerVR-based smart glasses introduced at CES 2014:

  • Recon Instruments introduced Snow2, an iPhone-connected HUD (Heads-Up Display) for winter sports. The Recon Snow2 project is a collaboration between Recon and Oakley and can be found as a complete kit called Oakley Airwave 1.5. Recon however is working with multiple companies to build several products that are tuned to their requirements. Recon Snow2 features an integrated GPS and can can display your speed, altitude, location, and act as a navigation instrument. For example, there is an iOS app that allows you to share your position on a map and locate your friends or family on the slopes.

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  • XOne is the first product from startup XOEye Technologies and took five years to design. XOne is a pair of safety glasses designed to improve efficiency and enhance safety for skilled labor jobs. The glasses rely entirely on audio and LEDs to communicate messages to the wearer. XOne integrates two 5MPx cameras (one inside each lens), speakers and a microphone, a gyroscope, and an accelerometer; the system is powered by a TI OMAP 4460 processor, running a custom version of Linux designed for enterprise use.image
  • The Vuzix M100 is one of the first commercially available smart glasses. They are an Android-based wearable computer, featuring a monocular display, recording features and wireless connectivity capabilities. Vuzis M100 has been designed to cover a range of applications; powerful, small and light, the M100 is well suited for a variety of industrial, medical, retail and prosumer users.image
  • The Epson Moverio BT-200 smart glasses are designed for users who like to enjoy their multimedia and do their gaming on a pair of glasses. Epson have put a lot of effort into integrating the technology (an OMAP processor) with the physical design. Even better, the smart glasses run Android 4.0.4 and apps from the Epson store; another unique feature is how users interact with the device, which is mainly done via a hand-held touchpad controller wired to the glasses. Epson has been named a 2014 CES Innovations Awards honoree in wearable tech for its Moverio BT-200 smart glasses.image
  • Lumus generated a lot of attention around its DK-40 wearable smart glasses at CES. They were very eager to show off the new developer unit in public focusing on how the monocular headset overlays a full VGA digital image over the right eye instead of using a small window for notifications. Lumus DK-40 runs Android, includes an OMAP processor and comes in multiple colors.image

I hope you’ve enjoyed our recap of some of the most interesting smart glass designs revealed at CES 2014. If you are interested in this category of devices and want to know more about the wearable gadgets that use our IP, make sure you follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationPR) and keep coming back to our blog.

Imagination and Google partner up for Android Wear and the wearable revolution [Imagination Blog, March 24, 2014]

Earlier this week Google announced a developer preview of Android Wear, a mobile operating system designed to extend the Android experience to wearable devices. This initiative will help jumpstart developers building innovative applications specifically targeting the next generation of innovation in wearables. The initial focus is on the smartwatch space and leverages the rich notification APIs already defined in Android.

Android Wear extends the Android platform to wearables, starting with a familiar form factor — watches. Download the developer preview at: developer.android.com/wear

Google is using this developer preview to give app developers the chance to experiment with enhanced notifications (e.g. weather, sports scores, navigation, etc.) for their applications to display on the smaller screen of smartwatches. For example, Android Wear supports notifications on a watch similar to how Google Now displays notifications on the smartphone. The next step for Google is to publish a full SDK that allows app developers to create complete, smartwatch-centric applications.

Delivering the ultimate wearable experience with MIPS  processor IP

Imagination has been a pioneer in delivering ultra-low power technologies across its entire IP portfolio. Following the acquisition of MIPS, one of the first things we did was to scrutinize all the CPUs from low end to high end to ensure we applied our leadership in low power design to MIPS CPUs. As a result, we believe MIPS is the ideal CPU for wearables, enabling our partners to build some of the most innovative solutions around for this growing market.

This year at MWC, wearables-focused startup Ineda demonstrated its ultra-low power Wearable Processor Unit (WPU) SoCs which deliver exceptional low power consumption. Ineda’s SoC devices integrate multiple IP processors from Imagination, including MIPS CPUs and PowerVR GPUs. Also, SpeedUp Technology announced its first wearable technology product, the SpeedUp SmartWatch, a revolutionary wearable device which incorporates an ultra-low power MIPS-based CPU from Ingenic.

Imagination is a Google launch partner for Android Wear – something we’re pretty proud of. Already a strong player in the Android ecosystem, Imagination’s MIPS architecture is one of the three CPU architectures fully supported by Google in every Android release including the latest Android 4.4 KitKat.

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All MIPS CPUs are optimized to offer the best Android experience on smartphones, tablets, wearables and other mobile devices

Low power, high performance MIPS CPUs already power billions of products around the globe. Thanks to a flexible architecture that scales from entry-level 32-bit embedded processors to some of the industry’s highest performing 64-bit CPUs, MIPS CPUs pave the way for next-generation embedded designs, including a growing presence in wearables. The Series5 Warrior generation includes two new processors (MIPS M5100 and M5150) that provide key features ideal for wearables such as a high-performance DSP engine, small code size, virtualization, and ultra-secure processing. All Series5 Warrior CPUs deliver industry-leading CoreMark performance in a very efficient area and power envelope.

Look for a MIPS-based smartwatch in a store near you

Several of our licensees are working very hard to deliver MIPS-based, Android Wear-compliant devices that will be available in the market once the operating system is officially released.

By being a launch partner, we will work very closely to ensure that Android Wear will be optimized for MIPS CPUs as well as our other IP technologies such as PowerVR graphics, video and vision, and Ensigma RPUs.

The list of members in the Android Wear alliance includes several leading consumer electronics manufacturers (Asus, HTC, LG, Motorola and Samsung), chip makers (Broadcom, Intel, Mediatek and Qualcomm) and fashion brands (the Fossil Group), all keen to bring you watches powered by the new operating system later this year.

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The list of official Android Wear partners

For more info about Android Wear and what was announced, visit:

Make sure you follow Imagination on Twitter (@ImaginationPR, @MIPSGuru) for the latest news and announcements from the wearable ecosystem.


I. Microchip Technology

From: IoT Era excites Semiconductor Players [Electronics Maker, May 6, 2014]
(other than Microsochip Technology companies are covered in the 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 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 17, 2014] post)

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Linear Technology

STMicroelectronics
(see in 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 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 17, 2014])

InvenSense, Inc.
(see in 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 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 17, 2014])

Texas Instruments

Microchip Technology [https://www.facebook.com/microchiptechnology]

Mike Ballard, Senior Manager, Home Appliance Solutions Group, Microchip Technology Inc.

Microchip has many devices that are well situated to enable IoT functionality, such as 8, 16 and 32-bit PIC® microcontrollers, analog, mixed-signal, memory, and embedded Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth® modules.  In addition, IoT designers can take advantage of Microchip’s flexible development environment, broad connectivity solutions and product longevity.

Microchip is so broad based, with 80,000+ global customers, that we do not see any singular market or application that will drive our growth in IoT.  Our customer value proposition is that we provide a very broad embedded portfolio, including both the hardware and software solutions to help companies create their IoT products.

Microchip has a significant number of products that fit well into the IoT markets.  We have close relationships with our customers and have been incorporating these technologies into our products, based on their feedback.  Technologies such as XLP in our MCUs (which enables low-power designs), Wi-Fi Modules (Microchip offers two approaches, giving customers flexibility), and power-measurement devices, all enable our customers to meet their design and cost goals.  In addition, we have been acquiring companies and technologies to ensure that we continue to meet these markets’ needs today and in the future.

What is Deep Sleep [MicrochipTechnology YouTube channel, April 22, 2009] with which the minimal power consumption could be as low as 20 nA which allows years of operation on a single battery:

http://www.microchip.com/xlp Learn about Microchip’s extreme low power mode that can drop microcontroller currents to virtually zero. This webseminar provides an introduction to Deep Sleep mode found on these microcontrollers.

Microchip Technology Inc., December 12, 2013

Our Home Appliance Solutions Group can help you implement the new features and functionality needed for your next design. This short video introduces you to our Induction Cooktop Reference Design, which can significantly shorten your design cycle: http://mchp.us/1hI8kip

Induction Cooktop Reference Design [MicrochipTechnology YouTube channel, Dec 5, 2013]

In this video we will introduce the Microchip Induction Cooktop Reference Design. http://microchip.com/appliance

microchip.com/appliance: Home Appliance

Appliance manufacturers face numerous challenges in today’s ever-changing global market. Government regulations, customer expectations, competitive forces and application innovations are fueling the integration of new technologies into many appliances. Bringing these technology advancements to market can be even more challenging with shorter deadlines, the pressure to maintain and grow market share and the constant need to innovate. In addition, finding partners with technical solutions to enable these goals can be daunting and drain your resources.

Microchip Technology can help you implement the new features and functionality required for your next appliance design. By providing Microchip’s solutions for user interface, motor control, sensing, connectivity and more, your design teams can focus on implementing the application.

Microchip’s cost-effective tools enable your design to reach the market faster.  Our free, award winning MPLAB®X Integrated Design Environment (IDE) provides a single development platform for all of our 8-, 16- and 32-bit microcontrollers and 16-bit Digital Signal Controllers (DSCs). Microchip makes it easy to develop your code and migrate to higher performance solutions as needed. Learning curves are minimized even when changing cores due to additional features, increased code size or the need for more computing power.

MIPS MCUs Outrun ARM [Processor Watch from The Linley Group, Feb 18, 2014]

Author: Tom R. Halfhill

Microchip’s newest 32-bit microcontrollers not only match the features of their Cortex-M4 competitors but also achieve higher EEMBC CoreMark scores. The new PIC32MZ EC family is powered by a MIPS microAptiv CPU core running at 200MHz—a speed demon by MCU standards.

These MCUs have more memory than comparable chips (up to 2MB of flash and 512KB of SRAM) plus Ethernet, Hi-Speed USB2.0, an LCD interface, and a cryptography accelerator. An early sample scored 654 CoreMarks—the highest EEMBC-certified score for any 32-bit MCU executing from internal flash memory.

Microchip’s earlier PIC32MX family uses the smaller MIPS32 M4K core running at a maximum clock speed of 100MHz. The microAptiv CPU in the new family not only runs twice as fast but also supports the microMIPS 32-bit instruction-set architecture. MicroMIPS combines 16- and 32-bit instructions to achieve better code density than previous MIPS32 cores or even Cortex-M cores using 16/32-bit Thumb-2 instructions. Microchip claims the PIC32MZ family has 30% better code density than similar ARM-based MCUs. Also, microAptiv adds 159 new signal-processing instructions.

The PIC32MZ family is designed for high-end controller applications, such as vehicle dashboard systems, building environmental controls, and consumer-appliance control modules. Some PIC32MZ chips will begin volume production in March, and the remainder by mid-year. Prices for 10,000-unit volumes will range from $6.68 to about $10—relatively expensive for MCUs but reasonable for the performance and features.

Leading performance and superior code density for new microAptiv-based PIC32MZ 32-bit MCU family from Microchip [Imagination Blog, Nov 25, 2013]

Although mainly known for our leadership position in CPU IP for digital home and networking, the MIPS architecture has recently seen rapid growth in the 32-bit microcontroller space thanks to the expanding list of silicon partners that are offering high-performance, feature-rich and low-power solutions at affordable price points.

The most recent example of our expansion into MCUs is the 200MHz 32-bit PIC32MZ family from Microchip. PIC32MZ MCUs integrate our microAptiv UP CPU IP core which enables Microchip to offer industry-leading performance at 330 DMIPS and 3.28 CoreMark™/MHz.

The PIC32MZ comes fully loaded with up to 2MB of Dual-Panel Flash with Live Update, 512KB SRAM and 16KB Instruction cache and 4KB data cache memories. This newest family in the PIC32 portfolio also offers a full suite of embedded connectivity options and peripherals, including 10/100 Ethernet MAC, Hi-Speed USB MAC/PHY (a first for PIC® MCUs), audio, graphics, crypto engine (supporting AES, 3DES, SHA) and dual CAN ports, all vital in supporting today’s complex applications.

By transitioning to the new MIPS microAptiv core, the PIC32MZ family offers a more than 3x increase in performance and better signal processing capabilities over the previous M4K-based PIC32MX families. In addition, the microAptiv core includes an Instruction Set Architecture (ISA) called microMIPS that reduces code size by up to 30% compared to executing 32-bit only code. This enables the PIC32MZ to load and execute application software in less memory.

The MIPS microAptiv family is available in two versions: microAptiv UC and microAptiv UP. microAptiv UC includes a SRAM controller interface and Memory Protection Unit designed for use in real-time, high performance low power microcontroller applications that are controlled by a Real Time OS (RTOS) or application-specific kernel. microAptiv UP contains a high performance cache controller and Memory Management Unit which enables it to be designed into Linux based systems.

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A block diagram of the microAptiv UP CPU IP core inside PIC32MZ MCUs

Why choose MIPS32-based CPU IP for your MCUs?

MIPS-based MCUs are used in a wide and very diverse set of applications including industrial, office automation, automotive, consumer electronic systems and leading-edge technologies such as wireless communications. Furthermore, we’ve recently seen growing demand from the wearable and ultra-portable market; companies targeting these markets are looking to silicon IP providers like Imagination to deliver performance and power efficient solutions that can be easily integrated in fully-featured products.

CPU IP cores for microcontrollers need to be all-round flexible designs that are able to deliver higher levels of performance efficiency, improved real-time response, lower power and a broad tools and developer ecosystem. And the requirements continue to grow, especially with the new challenges presented by designing for the Internet of Things: better security, the ability to create more complex RTOS-controlled software and the ability to support a growing number of interfaces.

The microAptiv and future MIPS Series5 ‘Warrior’ M-class cores are perfectly positioned to provide an ideal 32-bit MCU solution for these next-generation applications. We understand that picking the right processor architecture is a key decision criterion to achieving performance, cost and time-to-market objectives in a MCU product. This is why we’ve made sure that the MIPS32 architecture enables our partners to design higher performance, lower power solutions with more advanced features and superior development support.

In the words of Jim Turley from his “Micro-Super-Computer-Chip‘ article inside the EE Journal: “With sub-$10 chips and sub-$150 computer boards, it looks like MIPS took over the world after all.”

We will be demonstrating the PIC32MZ on a Microchip multimedia board at the Embedded World 2014 event (February 25th – 27th) in in Nürnberg, Germany, so make sure you drop by our booth if you are attending the conference. In the meantime, follow us on Twitter (@ImaginationPR and @MIPSGuru) for the latest news and announcements from Imagination and its partners.

Microchip’s PIC32MZ 32-bit MCUs Have Class-Leading Performance of 330 DMIPS and 3.28 CoreMarks™/MHz; 30% Better Code Density [Microchip press release, Nov 18, 2013]

New 24-Member Family Integrates 2 MB Flash, 512 KB RAM,
28 Msps ADC, Crypto Engine, Hi-Speed USB,
10/100 Ethernet, CAN and Many Serial Channels

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Microchip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced the new 24-member PIC32MZ Embedded Connectivity (EC) family of 32-bit MCUs.  It provides class-leading performance of 330 DMIPS and 3.28 CoreMarks™/MHz, along with dual-panel, live-update Flash (up to 2 MB), large RAM (512 KB) and the connectivity peripherals—including a 10/100 Ethernet MAC, Hi-Speed USB MAC/PHY (a first for PIC® MCUs) and dual CAN ports—needed to support today’s demanding applications.  The PIC32MZ also has class-leading code density that is 30% better than competitors, along with a 28 Msps ADC that offers one of the best throughput rates for 32-bit MCUs.  Rounding out this family’s high level of integration is a full-featured hardware crypto engine with a random number generator for high-throughput data encryption/decryption and authentication (e.g., AES, 3DES, SHA, MD5 and HMAC), as well as the first SQI interface on a Microchip MCU and the PIC32’s highest number of serial channels.

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View a brief presentation:  http://www.microchip.com/get/1WEC

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Embedded designers are faced with ever-increasing demands for additional features that require more MCU performance and memory.  At the same time, they are looking to lower cost and complexity by utilizing fewer MCUs.  The PIC32MZ family provides 3x the performance and 4x the memory over the previous-generation PIC32MX families, along with a high level of advanced peripheral integration.  For applications requiring embedded connectivity, the family includes Hi-Speed USB, Ethernet and CAN, along with a broad set of wired and wireless protocol stacks.  Many embedded applications are adding better graphics displays, and the PIC32MZ can support up to a WQVGA [400×240] display without any external graphics chips.  Streaming/digital audio applications can take advantage of this family’s 159 DSP instructions, large memory, peripherals such as I2S, and available software.

Field updates are another growing challenge for design engineers and managers.  The PIC32MZ’s 2 MB of internal Flash enables live updates via dual independent panels that provide a fail-safe way to conduct field updates while operating at full speed.

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“Our new PIC32MZ family was designed for high-end and next-generation embedded applications that require high levels of performance, memory and advanced-peripheral integration,” said Rod Drake, director of Microchip’s MCU32 Division.  “The PIC32MZ enables designers to add features such as improved graphics displays, faster real-time performance and increased security with a single MCU, lowering both cost and complexity.”

The PIC32MZ is Microchip’s first MCU to employ Imagination’s MIPS microAptiv™ core, which adds 159 new DSP instructions that enable the execution of DSP algorithms at up to 75% fewer cycles than the PIC32MX families.  This core also provides the microMIPS® instruction-set architecture, which improves code density while operating at near full rate, instruction and data cache, and its 200 MHz/330 DMIPS offers 3x the performance of the PIC32MX.

Microchip is a flag-bearer for the MIPS architecture in microcontrollers, having created its performance-leading PIC32 line around MIPS.  Additionally, Microchip was a valued partner in defining the feature set for the new MIPS microAptiv CPU, which is designed to fulfill next-generation application demands for increased performance and functionality,” said Tony King-Smith, EVP Marketing, Imagination Technologies.  “With its new microAptiv-based PIC32MZ family, Microchip is again taking MCU performance and feature innovation to new levels.  Imagination is delighted with this latest achievement of our strategic relationship with Microchip to address ever-evolving market needs.”

Development Support

Microchip is making four new PIC32MZ development tools available today.  The complete, turn-key PIC32MZ EC Starter Kit costs $119, and comes in two flavors to support family members with the integrated crypto engine (Part # DM320006-C) and those without (Part # DM320006).  The Multimedia Expansion Board II (Part # DM320005-2), which is available at the introductory rate of $299 for the first six months and can be used with either Starter Kit to develop graphics HMI, connectivity and audio applications.  The 168-pin to132-pin Starter Kit Adapter (Part # AC320006, $59) enables development with Microchip’s extensive portfolio of application-specific daughter boards.  The PIC32MZ2048EC Plug-in Module (Part # MA320012, $25) is available for existing users of the Explorer 16 Modular Development Board.  For more information and to purchase these tools, visit http://www.microchip.com/get/JDVB.

Pricing & Availability

The first 12 members of the PIC32MZ family are expected starting in December for sampling and volume production, while the remaining 12, along with additional package options, are expected to become available at various dates through May 2014.  The crypto engine is integrated into eight of the PIC32MZ MCUs, and there is an even split of 12 MCUs with 1 MB of Flash and 12 MCUs with 2 MB of Flash.  Pricing starts at $6.68 each in 10,000-unit quantities.  The superset family members and their package options are the 64-pin QFN (9×9 mm) and TQFP (9×9 mm) for the PIC32MZ2048ECH064; 100-pin TQFP (12×12 and 14×14 mm) for the PIC32MZ2048ECH100; 124-pin VTLA (9×9 mm) for the PIC32MZ2048ECH124; and 144-pin TQFP (16×16 mm) and LQFP (20×20 mm) for the PIC32MZ2048ECH144.  The superset versions with an integrated crypto engine are the PIC32MZ2048ECM064, PIC32MZ2048ECM100, PIC32MZ2048ECM124 and PIC32MZ2048ECM144.

PIC32MZ EC Family
Device Details (Non Crypto)
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Device Details (Crypto Engine)
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For more information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Web site athttp://www.microchip.com/get/ESJG.  To purchase products mentioned in this press release, go to microchipDIRECT or contact one of Microchip’s authorized distributors.

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Microchip’s New Cloud-Based Development Platform Now Available on Amazon Web Services Marketplace [Microchip press release, Oct 22, 2013]

Allows Embedded Engineers to Easily Connect Designs
to Amazon EC2 Instances;
Bridges Cloud and Embedded Worlds, Enabling Internet of Things

imageMicrochip Technology Inc., a leading provider of microcontroller, mixed-signal, analog and Flash-IP solutions, today announced a simple Cloud Development Platform that is available on the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Marketplace and enables embedded engineers to quickly learn cloud based communication.  Microchip’s platform provides designers with the ability to easily create a working demo that connects an embedded application with the Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (EC2) service.  At the heart of this platform is Microchip’s Wi-Fi® Client Module Development Kit (Part # DM182020), which offers developers a simple way to bridge the embedded world and the cloud, to create applications encompassing the Internet of Things.

A rapidly growing number of embedded engineers need to add cloud connectivity to their designs, but have limited experience in this area.  Microchip’s new Cloud Development Platform builds designer confidence by making it quick and easy for them to get up and running on the proven Amazon EC2 cloud infrastructure.

Amazon EC2 is a Web service that provides scalable, pay-as-you-go compute capacity in the cloud.  It is designed to make Web-scale computing easier for developers.

“I view this as a huge step forward for corporations who produce embedded products, to quickly develop infrastructure and connect their devices to the cloud,” said Mike Ballard, senior manager of Microchip’s Home Appliance Solutions Group and leader of its Cloud Enablement Team.  “With the vast amount of expertise and scalability provided by AWS, developers can easily customize their connectivity instances and the user’s experience.”

“With Microchip’s Wi-Fi Client Module Development Kit available via our AWS Marketplace, customers can easily learn to connect embedded products to AWS,” said Sajai Krishnan, GM, AWS Marketplace.  “This is an effective step to help bridge the embedded world and the cloud.”

Pricing & Availability

Microchip’s Cloud Development Platform is available today at http://www.microchip.com/get/R837.  As part of this platform, its Wi-Fi Client Module Development Kit (Part # DM182020) is available for purchase today for $99, at http://www.microchip.com/get/0D84.  For additional information, contact any Microchip sales representative or authorized worldwide distributor, or visit Microchip’s Web site athttp://www.microchip.com/get/ST1C.  To purchase products mentioned in this press release, go to microchipDIRECT or contact one of Microchip’s authorized distribution partners.


Ineda Systems

Smart Move [Business Today [India], May 11, 2014]

Why venture funds are rushing to back Ineda, maker of chips for wearable devices.

image

Ineda Systems is just the sort of company you’d expect from Dasaradha R. Gude, who has spent a large part of his career in the world of processors. “We are processors” is how he describes himself and his team of nearly 200 people.

Gude, or GD as he is known to many of his colleagues and business associates, is clearly excited about the power of wearable chips. Ineda – the name is derived from ‘integrated electronics designs for advanced systems’ – designs chips for use in wearable devices.

From 2007 to 2010, Gude was Corporate Vice President at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Inc, and later Managing Director at AMD India. He founded Ineda in 2011, and members of his team have previously worked in global companies such as AMD and Intel. He says: “They are people with courage to leave big companies and step out to do something innovative.”

To his customers, he plans to offer chips in sizes of five, seven, nine and 12 square millimetres, which can fit into wearable devices such as smart watches, health and fitness trackers, and pretty much anything that needs to be connected to the emerging ‘Internet of things’ which allows users to monitor connected devices from a long distance.

He promises chips that not only go easy on battery life, but also versions that can provide a range of features, almost like a smartphone. He says his potential customers are leaders in wearable technology, who would need tens of millions of chips a year, and this would bring his costs down.

The going has been good so far for Ineda. The company has just received funding from the US-based Walden Riverwood Ventures, from the venture capital arms of Samsung and Qualcomm, and a UK-based research and development company called Imagination Technologies. The total funding is to the tune of $17 million or Rs 103 crore, and Gude intends to use the money to ensure that the chips attain stability for mass production. In April 2013, Ineda raised $10 million (more than Rs 60 crore), with Imagination Technologies as the lead investor.

imageThe chips will be manufactured in Taiwan, and Gude is in talks with about two dozen potential customers, big names in the wearable technology market such as Nike and Fitbit. “Because we have a unique proposition and will need huge volumes, we are talking to the really big guys,” he says.

Clearly, wearable technology is a growing market. Gude says it is already worth a couple of billion dollars globally, and is expected to be a $10-billion industry by 2016. Everyone, from Google to Intel to fitness companies, has its eye on this market. For instance, Theatro, a US-based company, is developing voice-controlled wearable computers for the retail and hospitality segments of the enterprise market. It emerged from stealth mode in December 2013 when it announced its product’s commercial availability and relationship with its first customer, The Container Store. Its tiny 35-gm WiFi-based wearable device enables voice-controlled human-to-human interaction (one-to-one, group and store-to-store) and replaces two-way radios. It also enables voice-controlled human-to-machine interaction with, say, in-store systems for inventory, pricing and loyalty programmes. Another potential use is in-store employee location-based services and analytics.

There is so much excitement about wearable technology that some companies are even crowdsourcing ideas. For instance, Intel has launched its ‘Make It Wearable’ challenge, which offers prize money to the best real-world applications submitted by designers, scientists and innovators.

So Ineda’s chips could be used in devices such as Google Glass, smart watches, and Nike’s FuelBand. And when does Ineda expect its chips to become commercially available? “End of this year or the by the first quarter of 2015,” says Gude.

He says that at the moment, he has no direct competitor with whom he can do an apples-to-apples comparison. His rivals are either too big and expensive, or too small with few functionality options. He positions Ineda somewhere in between in terms of functionality and price. How the market will respond remains to be seen, but investors are clearly interested.

Ineda Systems Delivers Breakthrough Power Consumption for Wearable Devices and the Internet of Things [press release, April 8, 2014]

Extends Battery Life for Wearable Devices Up to a Month

Ineda Systems, a leader of low-power SoCs (system on a chip) for use in both consumer and enterprise applications, today announced its Dhanush family of Wearable Processing Units (WPU™). The Dhanush WPU family supports a large range of wearable devices including fitness bands, smart watches, glasses, athletic video recorders and the Internet of Things. The Dhanush WPUs will enable a new industry milestone for always-on battery life of up to one month.

image

The Dhanush WPU is powered by Ineda’s patent pending Hierarchical Computing architecture. Dhanush is sampling to tier-one customers now, and will be available in volume production in the second half of 2014.

The Hierarchical Computing architecture, along with low power, high-performance MIPS-based microprocessor cores and PowerVR mobile graphics and video processors, enable the Dhanush WPU to offer leading performance with unprecedented low power consumption. The Dhanush family of SoCs also supports a scalable range of connectivity from Bluetooth LE through Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to address a range of applications.

“The Ineda engineering team in India has developed an innovative, low-power architecture designed specifically for wearable devices,” said Dasaradha Gude, CEO of Ineda Systems.

“The Dhanush family of WPUs offers better power consumption by an order of magnitude than smart phone processors that are currently being retrofitted for wearable devices.”

“The smart phone market grew substantially with the advent of smartphone-specific dedicated application processors. Dhanush WPU SoCs will enable a similar transformation in the wearable market segment,” Gude added.

Dhanush WPU

imageThe Dhanush WPU is an industry-first wearable SoC that addresses all the needs of the wearable device market. It features Hierarchical Computing architecture that allows applications and tasks to run at the right power optimized performance and memory footprint and has an always-on sensor hub optimized for wearable devices. The Dhanush WPU family consists of products – Nano, Micro, Optima and Advanced – which are designed for specific applications and product segments. Each of these products will aim to provide 30-day always-on battery life, up to 10x power consumption reduction compared to the current generation of application processors and be available at consumer price points.

“Ineda Systems is bringing the first wearable-specific chipset design to market,” said Chris Jones, VP and principal analyst at Canalys. “Strict power constraints are the greatest technological challenge for smart wearables, and Ineda is the first company taking this challenge truly seriously at the SoC level with Dhanush. Always-on sensor functionality is also critical and inherent to its design.”

The Dhanush family of SoCs comes in four different tiers that are designed for specific implementations:

  • Dhanush Advanced: Designed to include all the features required in a high-end wearable device – rich graphic and user interface – along with the capability to run a mobile class operating system such as Android™.
  • Dhanush Optima: This is a subset of the Dhanush Advanced and retains all the same features except the capability of running a mobile class operating system. It offers enough compute and memory footprint required to run mid-range wearable devices.
  • Dhanush Micro: Designed for use in low-end smartwatches that have increased compute and memory footprint. This contains a sensor hub CPU subsystem that takes care of the always-on functionality of wearable devices.
  • Dhanush Nano: Designed for simple wearable devices that require microcontroller-class compute and memory footprint.

Hierarchical Computing Architecture

Hierarchical Computing is a tiered multi-CPU architecture with shared peripherals and memory. This architecture allows multiple CPUs to run independently and together to create a unified application experience for the user – allowing optimal use of CPUs per use-case for power efficient performance.

With Hierarchical Computing, all the CPUs can be individually or simultaneously active, working in sync while handling specific tasks assigned to them independently. Based on the mode of operation and the applications being used, the corresponding CPU is enabled to provide optimal performance at optimal power consumption. Resource sharing further enables Hierarchical Computing to work on the same hardware resources at different performance and power levels.

Ineda’s reference design, SDK and APIs enable OEMs and third-party application developers to seamlessly realize the benefits of the Hierarchical Computing architecture and provide a better user experience for their end products.

Ineda Systems plans to begin producing its WPU this year and will offer multiple SoC variations that will correspond with a specific class of wearable device. Ineda’s development kits are available for evaluation to select customers today.

About Ineda Systems

Ineda Systems, Inc. (pronounced “E-ne-da”) is a startup company founded by industry veterans from the United States and India with an ultimate goal of becoming a leader in developing low power SoCs for use in both consumer and enterprise applications. The advisory and management team has world-class experience working in both blue chip companies as well as fast-paced technology startups. Ineda’s expertise is in the area of SoC/IP development, architecture and software that is necessary to design silicon and systems for next generation of low power consumer and enterprise applications.

The company has offices in Santa Clara, California, USA and Hyderabad, India.

Ineda Systems, Inc. has applied for the trademark of WPU. Android is a trademark of Google Inc. All other trademarks used herein are the property of their respective owners.

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

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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):

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  • 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

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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:

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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

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[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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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

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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.

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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.