Home » Posts tagged 'Google'

Tag Archives: Google

Android security

February 14, 2017, RSA Conference: Delivering Secure, Client-Side Technology to Billions of Users Adrian Ludwig, Director of Android Security, Google.
Google aims to make the web safe for all. Director of Android Security Adrian Ludwig will discuss the progress they’ve made, the gaps that remain and how client-side security can make the web more secure.

THE BASICS
30 Aug 2016, WIRED UK: How Google is putting security at the heart of Android By ADRIAN LUDWIG. Google’s director of Android Security explains the operating system’s built-in security features

Android has been the fastest growing operating system of all time.

Google launched the first Android phone in the US in 2008, and there are now 1.4 billion Android users around the world.

The total ecosystem is huge: 400 companies partner with 500 carriers to produce over 4,000 distinct phones, tablets, and TVs running Android.

When we founded Android, the idea was somewhat crazy — build an open standard for hardware makers. Android is open-sourced and provided for free on all hardware.

This makes it possible for hardware makers to build a wide variety of different devices (phones, tablets, and even watches) while simultaneously making it easier for developers to build one app that works across any of these different devices.

Having an open ecosystem and over a billion users means that we take security very seriously. From the very beginning, security has been baked into the heart of Android. For example:

Application Sandbox

All Android applications run in what we call an “Application Sandbox.” Just like the walls of a sandbox keep the sand from getting out, each application is housed within a virtual ‘sandbox’ to keep it from accessing anything outside itself. This means that even if a user were to accidentally install a piece of malware, it’s forbidden from accessing any other app on the device.

The latest security technology

Android devices use leading hardware and software security technologies such as encryption, application signing, system integrity checks, SELinux, ASLR, and TrustZone to protect user data and the device.

More control in Android M

Users are even more safe with the new permissions model in Android M by giving them more control over what apps are allowed to access. Apps trigger requests for permissions at the time they need to do something.

For example, if your photo posting app wants to access your photo roll, it has to ask you first. So if a flashlight app starts asking for access to your phone book, you can just say no.

Google Play

Google Play —  our official marketplace for Android apps and games — is also an important part of Android security. Before applications become available in Google Play, they undergo an application security review process to confirm that they comply with Google Play policies, prohibiting potentially harmful applications. We suspend developer accounts and apps that violate our policies.

Third Party Verify Apps Feature

Since Android allows alternative app stores other than Google Play, our users often download apps from third-party app stores. In order to help make this third-party experience secure, we also have a feature called Verify Apps that warns the user or blocks potentially harmful apps, even if the app wasn’t from the Play Store.

It will check apps when you install them and periodically scans for potentially harmful apps to keep users safe. Over 1 billion devices are protected with Google Play which conducts 200 million security scans of devices per day.

The results of these efforts have made malware relatively rare on Android. Based on our research, fewer than one per cent of Android devices had a Potentially Harmful App (PHA) installed in 2014, and fewer than 0.15 per cent of devices that only install from Google Play had a PHA installed.

In future installments, we’ll talk more about how we work with the broader security community to protect Android users, and offer a few tips for you to protect your phone as well.

THE CONTRIBUTION FROM THE PARTNERS COMMUNITY
31 Aug 2016, WIRED UK: How Google’s bug bounties reward you for hunting out flaws in its Android software By ADRIAN LUDWIG. Google’s head of Android Security explains how bug bounties keep the OS secure.

Our last post looked at the ways in which we protect users against harmful software inside of Android and through our app store Google Play.

Android, however, is an open ecosystem used by more than 1.4 billion people around the world, so it makes sense to tap into all of those Android partners, developers, users, and researchers to help locate vulnerabilities and problems. This is the advantage of an open ecosystem: we can work with the broader security community who help us improve security and make Android stronger.

The priority for this approach is that we must be transparent about how exactly Android works. Android is open source, and this means we publish the latest programming source code for Android here.

Anyone can review the code to identify potential security risks. Anyone can build a device using this open source code (as well as add their own customisations). And anyone can suggest modifications or improvements to the core open source project.

Secondly, we work hard to encourage research on Android. We have come up with many ways to incentivise people to poke around in our code and find problems.

In 2010, Google started what we call security reward programs to pay security researchers who find major flaws. In 2014 alone we paid more than $1.5 million to security researchers who found vulnerabilities in Chrome and other Google products.

The success of this program led us to extend it directly to Android. In 2014, we started Google Patch Rewards — an experimental program to reward proactive security improvements for a few of our open-source projects. Rewards for qualifying submissions range from $500 for one-line improvements, up to $10,000 for complicated, high-impact improvements that almost certainly prevent major vulnerabilities in the affected code.

Then in 2015, we started the Android Security Rewards Program to help reward the contributions of security researchers who invest their time and effort in helping us make Android more secure. Through this program we provide monetary rewards and public recognition for vulnerabilities disclosed to the Android Security Team.

The reward level is based on the bug severity, increasing for higher quality reports that include reproduction code, test cases, and patches. In the last six months of 2015, we paid more than $200,000 to researchers for their work, including our largest single payment of $37,500 to an Android security researcher. This was part of the total $2 million paid out to researchers across all the programs.

On top of our own programs, we also sponsor third-party competitions such as Mobile pwn2own, ZDI’s annual contest that rewards security researchers for highlighting security vulnerabilities on mobile platforms.

Finally, we work closely with our hardware partners so devices can be updated with the latest patches. For more than three years, we have been working with Android manufacturers every month through bulletins of security issues with which they can keep their users secure.

Manufacturers such as Samsung, LG, and Blackberry are collectively providing millions of devices with these monthly security updates.

Nexus devices have always been among the first Android devices to receive platform and security updates. Since last year, Nexus devices have been regularly receiving security-focused, over-the-air (OTA) updates each month in addition to the usual platform updates. These fixes are also released to the public via the Android Open Source Project.

For Android, security has always been a priority. We are extremely grateful to the wider research community for helping us find security flaws. It’s great to us — but more importantly, to 1.4 billion people around the world — to see so many people pitching in to make Android safer.

FROM THE USERS THEMSELVES
2 Sept 2016, WIRED UK: How to keep your Android phone safe from prying eyes By ADRIAN LUDWIG. Google’s director of Android Security reveals practical ways to keep your data safe.

Over the course of this dedicated security series we have focused on how security is baked into the very heart of Android.

But the Android operating system also empowers you to take safety into your own hands.

This final piece in our series focuses on how each and every Android phone user can play an active role when it comes to safety on the internet. Today, smartphones have become nearly indispensable. So it’s important to keep your phone, but also its contents, secure.

We’re going to walk you through some top ways to keep your mobile security skills as sharp as possible. These are simple but highly effective ways to keep you safe, such as finding your phone if it’s lost, keeping your personal information secured, and making sure the apps and games you download are safe.

One of the most basic threats to mobile security is pretty simple and is probably something that has happened to all of us: losing your own phone. We entrust our phones with some of our most personal data – texts from loved ones, family photos, work emails, bank account information, and more. In the wrong hands, that data could cause trouble but when your phone goes missing, it’s not always easy to figure out where to start, who to call, or how to keep your information safe.

Find Your Phone is a new Android feature that will help you if your phone is ever lost or stolen. In a few simple steps, you can not only locate your phone, but also lock and call it, secure your account, leave a callback number on the screen, and more. The feature can be used to find lost Android and iOS devices, and soon, you’ll also be able to access it by searching Google for “I lost my phone.”

You can use Find Your Phone in My Account, or just by searching ‘find my phone’ on any Google browser. Plus, it works for both Android and iOS devices.

A second easy thing you can do if you don’t want anyone who picks up your phone or tablet to have access to your stuff is to switch on your mobile device lock. On an Android phone or tablet, you can pick a PIN, a password, or a pattern.

For added security, you should also set your device to automatically lock when it goes to sleep. You can take this even one step further and customise your settings so that your patterns and passwords are not visible when you’re entering them.

Download apps from trusted stores and marketplaces and help ensure your phone is safe when it’s in your own hands. Some apps can affect your device’s security, so only download them from places you trust. We work to make sure that all apps available on Google Play pass stringent policy checks, including checks for potentially harmful behaviour.

If you have Google Play installed, you’re automatically protected from potentially harmful apps with the Verify Apps feature. It’s turned on by default and warns you before you install an application we believe is potentially harmful. It’ll also check your device once a week for potentially harmful apps. If you see a warning from Verify Apps, we recommend not installing that app.

In the last year, we’ve significantly improved our machine learning and event correlation to detect potentially harmful behaviour. We protect users from malware and other Potentially Harmful Apps (PHAs), by checking more than 6 billion installed applications per day. We protect users from network-based and on-device threats by scanning 400 million devices per day. And we protect hundreds of millions of Chrome users on Android from unsafe websites with Safe Browsing.

We have also continued to make it even more difficult to get PHAs into Google Play. Last year’s enhancements reduced the probability of installing a PHA from Google Play by over 40 per cent compared to 2014. Within Google Play, install attempts of most categories of PHAs declined. Data Collection decreased over 40 per cent to 0.08 per cent of installs, spyware dropped 60 per cent to 0.02 per cent of installs and hostile downloaders also decreased 50 per cent to 0.01 per cent of installs.

Overall, PHAs were installed on fewer than 0.15 per cent of devices that only get apps from Google Play. About 0.5 per cent of devices that install apps from both Play and other sources had a PHA installed during 2015, similar to the data in last year’s report.

It’s critical that we also protect users who install apps from sources other than Google Play. Our Verify Apps service protects these users and we improved the effectiveness of the PHA warnings provided by Verify Apps by over 50 per cent. In 2015, we saw an increase in the number of PHA install attempts outside of Google Play, and we disrupted several coordinated efforts to install PHAs onto user devices from outside of Google Play.

xx

Advertisements

Open Live Writer 0.5 to succeed the Windows Live Writer

To move back to Live Writer was an easy decision for me:
– The Open Live Writer screen on my 15.6 inch notebook Back to [Open] Live Writer - The Open Live Writer screen on my 15.6 inch notebook -- 11-Dec-2015

– The classic WordPress.com editing screen on my 15.6 inch notebook
Back to [Open] Live Writer - The classic WordPress.com editing screen on my 15.6 inch notebook -- 11-Dec-2015
– The improved posting experience WordPress.com editing screen on my 15.6 inch notebookBack to [Open] Live Writer - The improved posting experience WordPress.com editing screen on my 15.6 inch notebook -- 11-Dec-2015

In fact with the last two editing capabilities I was not able to use my 15.6” notebook screen at all. Now with Open Live Writer 0.5 I have a perfect two monitor environment. This is an enormous difference by itself, and then all the Live Writer goodies which I’d been so fun of during the first years of 2010s are just coming on the top of that.

December 9, 2015 on .NET Foundation: Live Writer is now Open Source by Rob Dolin

Today Microsoft announced that Open Live Writer was released and has been contributed to the .NET Foundation. Open Live Writer is an open source application enabling users to author, edit, and publish blog posts. It is based on a fork of the wellloved but not actively developed Windows Live Writer code. Scott Hanselman helped carry the torch at Microsoft on this project, and I’ve been proud to be part of the all-volunteer team to make it happen.

History of Windows Live Writer

The product that became Live Writer was originally created by a small, super-talented team of engineers including Jeremy Allaire, JJ Allaire, Joe Cheng, Charles Teague, and Spike Washburn. The team joined Microsoft through an acquisition in 2006 and organized with the Spaces team where I was working. Becky Pezely joined the team and over time, the team grew and shipped many popular releases of Windows Live Writer.

As Microsoft was planning for the version of Windows Live that would coincide with the Windows 8 operating system release, the teams that built the Windows Live client apps for Windows were encouraged to focus on building a smaller set of Windows 8 apps designed to work well with both traditional PC input mechanisms and touch. The original team concluded their work on Windows Live Writer with Windows Live Writer 2012.

Reviving Live Writer

Even though there was no active development, Windows Live Writer continued to be a favorite tool of a passionate community of Windows PC users for authoring, editing, and publishing blog posts. Data from WordPress.com at the time suggested that Windows Live Writer (even two years after active development ended) was the #1 app for authoring a blog post to WordPress.com on a Windows PC. In fact, some of our technical evangelists were actively using Windows Live Writer for publishing on WordPress-powered blogs. A few team members from my former MS Open Tech team took an early interest in joining Scott Hanselman to revive Live Writer as an open source project.

By January 2015, a group of about a half-dozen engineers interested in spending some of their volunteer time to help release an updated version of Live Writer had found each other. Jon Gallant sent an email to a few large group email lists at Microsoft soliciting volunteers and we collected about 50 people interested in helping. Anne Legato, Ed Essey, and the team at The Garage were most helpful in sharing advice on launching external projects. Scott Guthrie also agreed to be Open Live Writer’s sponsor.

Why v0.5

You might wonder why we’re releasing a version 0.5 now instead of waiting to get to a v0.9 or a v1.0. A few considerations went into this. First, we wanted to get this out as an open source project as quickly as possible so people outside of Microsoft could start participating. Second, we suspect many people may be taking some vacation around the end of December and we wanted to make sure the project was available. Third, Eddie Kessler and the folks on Google’s Blogger team asked us to ship no later than early December 2015 so they could turn-off an old API that Windows Live Writer was dependent on. Eddie and team originally had planned to turn-off the API earlier and we are thankful for their collaboration and partnership in extending its life until we could release Open Live Writer.

Why .NET Foundation

The volunteer team considered a few options for releasing Open Live Writer. Ultimately, we found a great partnership in the .NET Foundation to support our goals around growing community participation for the project. Martin Woodward, Robin Ginn, and the team has been super-helpful in many matters including open source governance and administrative support, to marketing and communications.

And Open Live Writer is many thousands of lines of C# code, so the .NET Foundation is a good technical match too.

December 9, 2015 on Scott Hanselman blog: Announcing Open Live Writer – An Open Source Fork of Windows Live Writer

Meta enough for you?Today is the day. An independent group of volunteers within Microsoft has successfully open sourced and forked Windows Live Writer. The fork is called Open Live Writer (also known as OLW) and it is part of the .NET Foundation and managed by this group of volunteers. Read the fantastic announcement at the .NET Foundation Blog! Download Open Live Writer now!

Windows Live Writer 2012 was the last version Microsoft released and can still be downloaded from http://www.windowslivewriter.com. If you’re not comfortable using Open Source Software, I recommend you stick with classic WLW.

If you’re willing to put up with some bugs, then join us in this brave new world, you can download Open Live Writer from http://www.openlivewriter.org. We’re calling today’s release version 0.5.

Here’s some of the added features, the removed features, the stuff that doesn’t work, and our plans for the future:

  • REMOVED: Spell Checking. The implementation was super old and used a 3rd party spell checker we didn’t have a license to include an open source release. Going forward we will add Spell Check using the built-in spell checker that was added in Windows 8. Open Live Writer on Windows 7 probably won’t have spell check.
  • REMOVED: The Blog This API. It was a plugin to Internet Explorer and Firefox and was a mess of old COM stuff.
  • REMOVED: The “Albums” feature. It uploaded photos to OneDrive but depended on a library that was packaged with Windows Live Mail and Live Messenger and we couldn’t easily get permission to distribute it in an open source project.
  • ADDING VERY SOON: Google runs the excellent Blogger blog service. We’ve worked with the Blogger Team within Google on this project, and they’ve been kind enough to keep an older authentication endpoint running for many months while we work on Open Live Writer. Soon, Google and Blogger will finally shut down this older authentication system. Blogger will use the more modern OAuth 2 and Open Live Writer will be updated to support OAuth 2. Windows Live Writer will never support this new OAuth 2 authentication system, so if you use Blogger, you’ll need to use Open Live Writer.
  • BROKEN/KNOWN ISSUES: We are actively working on supporting Plugins. We have an plan in place and we are looking for your feedback on the most popular plugins that you want brought over from the Windows Live Writer ecosystem.

Our roadmap for the future is published here on GitHub.

NOTE: Open Live Writer is NOT a Microsoft product. It is an open source project under the .NET Foundation and is managed and coded by volunteers. Some of the volunteers work for Microsoft and are doing this work in their spare time.

TypeScript 1.5+ coming with Angular 2.0 framework from May 2015 and with support of ECMAScript 6th Edition (ES6) as well

… instead of AtScript. No wonder as the interest for TypeScript is high and growing while for AtScript it didn’t catch up and even declining (note that TypeScript has even now greater interest than Google’s own web programming language Dart UPDATE on March 25: “will focus our web efforts on compiling Dart to JavaScriptasteams … that use Dart every day to build business-critical apps … feedback … consistent: they love working with the Dart language, libraries, and tools, and they compile Dart to JavaScript when they deploy to the web” see the full announcement at the end of this post):

Interest over the last year - Dart-TypeScript-AtScript

Note that the new strategy for the 2.0 version Angular will make this new relatively web application framework definitely the number one, as the current 1.x version of AngularJS is already attractzing more interest than the previous stars such as Ruby on Rails and Django (contemporary competitors like Backbone.js and Ember.js  are no match either):

Interest since 2004 - AngularJS-Ruby on Rails-Django-Backbone.js-Ember

ng-conf 2015, March 5, 2015:
TypeScript and ES6 ¦ Dan Wahlin [RD & MVP] & Andrew Connell [MVP]

ES6 offers many exciting features that will change how you write JavaScript and Angular applications. But can you take advantage of ES6 features today while still supporting browsers that don’t fully implement ES6? In this session you’ll learn about key features found in the TypeScript language (a superset of JavaScript) and see how they can be used to add ES6-style code into your Angular apps. Topics covered include classes, inheritance, types, generics, and more.

According to the current (March 5) status of ES 6:

… Development of the ECME-262 6h Edition, The 2015 ECMAScript Language Specification is complete. All that remains to find and fix and remaining editorial or technical bugs in the document. …

March 4, 2015 Rev 35 Release Candidate 2

as well as to the TC39 – ECMAScript – Ecma International:

… A sixth edition of the standard is currently under development with a target date of June 2015 for completion. …

March 5, 2015 by Andrew Connell [MVP]: I Love Me Some TypeScript

This week my friend Dan Wahlin and I presented at ng-conf as it will get posted soon. There was even some fantastic news that came out about TypeScript and Angular at the show – instead of proceeding with AtScript, the Angular team worked with the TypeScript team to extend the language and make it even better!

Not familiar with TypeScript? In a nutshell it is a superscript of JavaScript and enables you to use static types, interfaces, classes and lambda expressions in your JavaScript. This is compiled down to JavaScript and is thus transparent to the end users.

In our talk we explained why we both like TypeScript for JavaScript based development for varies reasons. For me, it really boils down to the following:

  • Catch coding issues faster – When you have static types, the compiler and IDEs can help you more, showing errors and possible issues before you have to run your app to find those errors.
  • Promotes good coding styles – One of the advantages of JavaScript is the ability to let you do things only dynamic languages let you do like adding fields on the fly and other things. Well sometimes you don’t want this… And this is where TypeScript can help… Create an interface or class with public properties that could be a specific type, any type and even be optional fields.
  • Get ready & familiar with ES6 today – This might be the biggest one for me. As you may be aware we are in the final stages of EcmaScript 6 being ratified. It’s a major change to get language… lots of goodness… like promises and classes to make just two things. Well you can’t do ES6 today because not all browsers support it. You could write it and transpile it down to ES5, or write TypeScript. Today TypeScript files compile down to ES5 but there’s a switch to compile it down to ES6. So use TypeScript to write your classes and interfaces and let the TypeScript compiler down to whatever one you need today or tomorrow. – It works in all JavaScript – When most hear JavaScript you think of client-side development. But there is a whole ecosystem I’m loving where you use JavaScript on the server using node.js or io.js or use it in your development tooling with task runners like gulp. I use it in all these places… and I find I’m much more productive with it.

So how do you get started? Check out the TypeScript site and search YouTube as well as Channel9 for videos… there are a ton of resources.

ng-conf 2015, March 6, 2015:
TypeScript and Angular 2.0 ¦ Jonathan Turner [Program Manager on TypeScript, Microsoft, he has been a part of the TypeScript team since its first public release in October 2012]

One of the best aids to good craftsmen is the tools they use. In this session, we’ll be looking at upcoming features of TypeScript and related tools and how these features help you get the most out of your Angular 2.0 development.

March 5, 2015 by Jonathan Turner: Angular 2: Built on TypeScript

We’re excited to unveil the result of a months-long partnership with the Angular team.

This partnership has been very productive and rewarding experience for us, and as part of this collaboration, we’re happy to announce that Angular 2 will now be built with TypeScript.  We’re looking forward to seeing what people will be able to do with these new tools and continuing to work with the Angular team to improve the experience for Angular developers.

The first fruits of this collaboration will be in the upcoming TypeScript 1.5 release.

We have worked with the Angular team to design a set of new features that will help you develop cleaner code when working with dynamic libraries like Angular 2, including a new way to annotate class declarations with metadata.  Library and application developers can use these metadata annotations to cleanly separate code from information about the code, such as configuration information or conditional compilation checks.

We’ve also added a way to retrieve type information at runtime.  When enabled, this will enable developers to do a simple type introspection.  To verify code correctness with additional runtime checks.  It also enables libraries like Angular to use type information to set up dependency injection based on the types themselves.

TodoMVC for Angular 2 in TypeScript

At ng-conf, we are previewing this work by showing a TodoMVC example, based on David East’s Angular 2 TodoMVC.  You can try this example out for yourself. If you’re new to TypeScript, you can also learn TypeScript through our interactive playground.

We’re looking forward to releasing a beta of TypeScript 1.5 in the coming weeks, and along with it, growing TypeScript’s tooling support to include more development styles and environments.

/TypeScript, March 5, 2015:
Roadmap by Anders Hejlsberg

1.3

1.4

1.5

[“nearly closes the gap with ES6 features”, Beta out in a few weeks]

1.6

  • Generators
  • Async/await

2.0

  • Support for local types and class expressions
  • Investigate top-rated feature requests (mixins, abstract classes, etc).
  • Improve lib.d.ts modularity

ng-conf 2015, March 5, 2015:
Angular 2, Collaboration between Angular team and TypeScript team, investment in Dart, partnering with Ember (as an example),  Simpler-Standards-Performance measured with benchmarks etc.

Remark: Traceur is a compiler that takes ECMAScript Edition 6 (ES6) (including classes, generators, destructuring and much more) and compiles it down to regular Javascript (ECMAScript Edition 5 [ES5]) that runs in your browser. So it is also called transpiler.

From Welcome keynote on the 1st day (by Brad Green [engineering director at Google for Google Sales Platform suite of projects as well as the Angular framework] and Igor Minar [lead on the Angular project] to start with, then Jonathan Turner from Microsoft). The full keynote starts with Angular 1 related things.

ng-conf 2015, March 6, 2015:
Demo of Angular 2 with TypeScript running in the browser
(the result of just a couple of months work, with just a few components available and with Alpha code)

From All about Angular 2 keynote on the 2nd day of ng-conf 2015 (by Miško Hevery the creator of Angular framework, and Rado Kirov doing the demo). The full keynote starts with talk about: Angular 2 Syntax (Familiar vs Simple, event binding, ref binding); Web Components (Microsyntax, Simpler – Predictable – Toolable).

Update: March 25, 2015
Dart for the Entire Web by Lars Bak & Kasper Lund, Dart co-founders

We work with many teams, inside and outside of Google, that use Dart every day to build business-critical apps. Their feedback is consistent: they love working with the Dart language, libraries, and tools, and they compile Dart to JavaScript when they deploy to the web.  However, they also tell us they need better integration with JavaScript, and they need an easier way to debug and optimize their apps across all modern browsers. We listened, and today we are announcing a more focused strategy for Dart for the web.

In order to do what’s best for our users and the web, and not just Google Chrome, we will focus our web efforts on compiling Dart to JavaScript. We have decided not to integrate the Dart VM into Chrome. Our new web strategy puts us on a path to deliver the features our users need to be more productive building web apps with Dart. It also simplifies the testing and deployment scenarios for our developers, because they can focus on a single way to build, test, and deploy their Dart apps for the web.

Google Ads, one of Dart’s biggest customers, is committed to Dart and supports this new strategy. Scott Silver, VP of Engineering for Ads, says, “We are committed to building our next-generation web apps with Dart, and a renewed focus on generating optimal JavaScript helps us deliver great apps to everyone with a modern browser. Dart has significantly improved our engineers’ productivity and our ability to quickly launch and iterate. We currently have one million lines of Dart code and the number is growing fast.” Many other teams inside of Google, such as Google Fiber, Google Express, and Google’s internal sales team, use Dart for business-critical apps.

Dart developers outside of Google are also very supportive of our new focus. When DGLogik, developers of Internet of Things applications, needed to convert their complex visualization software from Flash to HTML5, they chose Dart because “the Dart team’s focus on the entire web ensures we continue to deliver great experiences for all our users.” Dennis Khvostionov, CTO of DGLogik, continues: “Without Dart’s productivity benefits and tooling, we’d need a team twice our size.”

Many of our developers use Dart for both client and server apps, reducing costs by sharing code. We remain committed to optimizing and improving the Dart VM for developer tools, servers, and mobile apps.

We started the Dart project because we believe that every developer deserves simplicity, productivity, and performance. Our new web strategy makes it easier for developers to build with, and for, the modern web with Dart. With Google Ads’ long-term commitment to Dart, and our new focused strategy for the web, we are excited by our path forward.

32-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Processor (ARM TechCon 2014, Oct 1-3): “our latest and greatest”

Only 3 devices based on Snapdragon 805 SoC have been announced yet (since September): Amazon Fire HDX 8.9 (will be released on Oct 21), Samsung GALAXY Note Edge and Samsung GALAXY Note 4 (release for both–17 model varieties–is scheduled to take place in 140 countries throughout the rest of October after 17th in the U.S. and into the month of November). In addition Google Hopes Whale of a Phone Will Make Splash in Phablet Market with the 5.9″ Motorola (soon Lenovo) Nexus 6 (Shamu) sporting the Snapdragon 805 SoC, and competing with Apple’s iPhone 6 Plus. It might be released in mid-October (October 15 or 16) quite probably together with groundbreaking Android L.

New Krait 450 CPU cores (of Qualcomm’s own Krait microarchitecture for ARMv7-A CPU instruction set architecture–ISA) and new Adreno 420 GPU (for Qualcomm’s brand new Adreno 4xx GPU architecture) as well as the explained below:
– Ultra HD 4K display with integrated Hollywood Quality Video (HQV) technology [0:50⇒]
– HEVC codec feature [2:02⇒]
More information: Snapdragon 805 Processor Product Brief of Sept 20, as well as AnandTech | Qualcomm Snapdragon 805 Performance Preview of May 21 (also giving details about the Adreno 4xx GPU architecture) plus The first wave of computational photography capabilities from Qualcomm for its new Snapdragon 805 SoCs [this same blog, Jan 4-12, 2014].

Note that the Snapdragon 805 SoC was announced 11 months ago (Nov 20, 2013) with:

sampling now and expected to be available in commercial devices by the first half of 2014.

The 4 months delay is quite explainable by the onslaught of high-end SoCs from aspiring competitors, such as MediaTek (first and foremost, see more below), Rockchip, Allwinner etc., all using 3d party semiconductor IP for CPU and GPU cores. While pushing for maximum attainable performance with Krait 450 and Adreno 420 by adding more time to development, meantime Qualcomm itself was forced to move to high-end 64-bit ARMv8-A ISA cores from ARM Holdings (Cortex-A57/A53 big.LITTLE) for its upcoming 2015 SoCs (Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 808) in order to remain competitive, as even with Krait 450 the DMIPS/MHz gain against the first Krait 200 core is marginal: 3.51 vs 3.3. So the Krait 450 is the end-of-the-road implementation of the original Krait microarchitecture (but Qualcomm might come out with a brand new microarchitecture of its own for ARMv8-A ISA cores in order to remain competitive from 2016 and on).

Note as well that MediaTek will pose a direct challenge to Qualcomm in high-end 32/64-bit smartphone SoC space as per MediaTek May Narrow Qualcomm’s Lead in China’s 4G Market [EE|Times, Oct 1, 2014]:

MediaTek, Taiwan’s largest chip designer, has a chance to narrow Qualcomm’s lead in China’s 4G smartphone market with the launch of a new octo-core processor in the first quarter of 2015. MediaTek is sampling now the MT6795, a new 64-bit LTE True Octa-core SoC and will start selling the chip early next year, according to Joey Lee, a company spokesperson.

“The chip will provide Samsung Galaxy Notes-like performance at half the price,” Abrams [Randy Abrams, a Taipei-based analyst with investment bank Credit Suisse] said in a phone interview. “It’s for Chinese brands that want performance comparable to Galaxy Notes or the Apple iPhone at the equivalent of $300 to $400 retail for a handset.”

By the first quarter of next year, MediaTek’s MT6795 shipments are expected to reach 30 million units, giving MediaTek a chance to take the lead from Qualcomm, the Commercial Times report said, without citing the source of its information. Qualcomm has a 68% share of the global baseband chip business that was worth $5.2 billion in the second quarter of this year, according to Strategy Analytics.

The current MediaTek challenge for Qualcomm is MediaTek’s 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 octa-core SoC MT8752 is launched with 4G/LTE tablets in China [this same blog, Oct 14, 2014]

Regarding the MediaTek competitive edge over Qualcomm before that you can read on this blog:
– Qualcomm’s SoC business future is questioned first time [May 1, 2013]
– 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 [July 20, 2013 – March 15, 2014]
– 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 [Dec 22, 2013 – Jan 27, 2014]
– ARM Cortex-A17, MediaTek MT6595 (devices: H2’CY14), 50 billion ARM powered chips [Feb 18 – March 13, 2014]
– 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 [March 4-13, 2014]

Google Drops Compute Engine Prices By 10 Percent

More information: Announcing across-the-board price cuts on Compute Engine [by Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Technical Infrastructure on ‘Google Cloud Platform Blog’, Oct 1, 2014]
Note from that:

Look forward to what’s coming next. Tune in to Google Cloud Platform Live on November 4th to learn more about where we’re headed.

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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.

image

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).
    image
  • 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.

image

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.

image

  • 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.

image

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.

image

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)

image


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.

image
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

image

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.

image

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

image

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.

image

“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)
image

Device Details (Crypto Engine)
image

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.

Follow Microchip

RSS Feed for Microchip Product News: http://www.microchip.com/get/E09A

Twitter:  http://www.microchip.com/get/VR8V

Facebook:  http://www.microchip.com/get/H7DH

YouTube:  http://www.microchip.com/get/KMKU

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

image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Then have a look at the internals (teardown):

image

image

image

imageimage

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

image

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

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

Gear has a special USB charging solution as shown below:

image

 

Gear Fit development:

From Samsung Developer Day 2014 at MWC – Keynote

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What Is CUP?

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

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

image

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

image

CUP Technology

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

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

image

The CUP process functions as follows:

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

image

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

Restrictions

CUP has the following restrictions:

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

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

From Samsung Mobile SDKRemote Sensor [Feb 25, 2014]

What Is Remote Sensor?

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

image

You can use the Remote Sensor package to:

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

Getting User Activity Data

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

Getting Pedometer Data

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

Getting Wearing State Data

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

Remote Sensor Service

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

image

Restrictions

Remote Sensor has the following restrictions:

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


IV. COMPONENT LEVEL DETAILS

Only the following key components are considered here:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

Note also the new STM32 Nucleo Development Board and STM32Cube.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

image


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

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

Overview

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

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

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

MPU-6500 System Diagram

image

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

image
MPU-6500 Block Diagram

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

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

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

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

InvenSense MotionProcessing™ Platform

image

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

image

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Features

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

News Highlights:

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

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

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

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

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

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

Key Facts:

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

Quotes:

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

Broadcom Corporation

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

Resources:

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

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

About Broadcom

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


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

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


Linear Technology

Microchip Technology

STMicroelectronics

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

STM32 32-bit ARM Cortex MCUs

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

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

image

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

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

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

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

image

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Smart Sensors

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

a)      Accelerometer

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

b)      Gyroscope

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

c)      Magnetic Compass

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

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

d)      Pressure Sensor

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

MEMS pressure sensor: 2.5 X 2.5 mm High Accuracy barometer

e)      Temperature and Humidity Sensor

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

f)       MEMS Microphone

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

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

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

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

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

 

InvenSense, Inc.

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

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

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

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

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

IoT Products:

Motion Overview

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

Sound Overview

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

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

Key Markets

Smartphones:

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

Tablet devices:

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

Wearable devices:

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

Digital still & video cameras:

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

Digital television and set-top box remote controls:

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

Video gaming:

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

AlwaysOn’ MotionTracking sensor system

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The Apple supplier that could make you a fortune
There are really only two ways to profit from a game-changing tech product that Apple CEO Tim Cook accidentally revealed recently. The first way is to invest in Apple directly. The second and better way is to invest in Apple’s inside supplier. To learn more about this incredible opportunity, just watch this shocking video that reveals the best way to invest in Apple’s secret partner. Click here to learn more about this stock.

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

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

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

Small 3.5mm x 3.5mm x 0.9mm Package

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

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

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

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

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

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

About InvenSense

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

InvenSense® Technology [InvenSense, May 11, 2012]

Overview

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

image

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

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

Manufacturing efficiency, flexibility and scalability

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

Manufacturing efficiency, flexibility and scalability

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

Scalable MotionProcessing™ platform with opportunities for multi-sensor integration

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

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

High performance and reliability

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