Google’s Android Wear is one of the most sophisticated wearable operating systems available in the market today. However, smartwatch makers are still figuring out the right processors to power them. Most of their watches are either running age-old processors or chipsets designed for smartphones that aren’t really relevant for wearables due to limited battery and storage constraints. Chipmaker MediaTek is attempting to address those issues with its new MT2601 processor announced at CES, which targets smartwatches and wearables. Also Read - TicWris Max is a smartwatch that runs Android found on smartphones
MediaTek’s MT2601 SoC, which has entered mass production, is specifically designed for wearable devices running on Google’s Android Wear operating system. It comes with a comparatively smaller (just 480mm x 480mm) printed circuit board (PCB) and is built with 41.5 percent fewer components. Also Read - Google engineer builds an app to turn Wear OS smartwatch into a Bluetooth mouse
As for specifications, the MT2601 is based on ARM’s Cortex-A7 design. It uses an ARM Mali 400 design for its GPU and MT6630 modem for Bluetooth. The company also asserts that the processor comes with a range of sensors which can be used by hardware makers to add health-oriented features. Also Read - Google’s Wear OS version ‘H’ brings enhanced battery saver mode, improved app switching, and more
MediaTek claims that MT2601’s tiny form factor enables the chipset to be less power hungry (hence more cost effective) than most wearable processors available in the market. In addition, the small PCB size also makes the MT2601 eligible to be used in wearable devices, location trackers, and other similar gadgets.
Wearables are pegged to be the next big thing. While only a million wearable devices were sold last year, analysts predict that the growing market will bloom to 100 million generating more than $22 billion by the end of 2019. Chipmakers have realized it, and are trying to be the forefront in the wearable categories. At CES this year, Intel too unveiled Quark SE, its tiny chipset the size of a coat button that can power wearables that don’t need the same processing power as a smartwatch.