Watch out Intel, Qualcomm-powered wearables to hit stores before 2015

Qualcomm TOQ face angle

Qualcomm effectively rules the smartphone processor market, and as the demand for wearable companion devices grows, it’s apparently keen on making a similar impact in the burgeoning market too. According to Qualcomm Taiwan’s President Eddie Chang, the company is ready to produce chips suitable for wearable devices, and that we won’t have long to wait until they go on sale.

“Qualcomm has all the technologies needed,” he is quoted as saying, before adding, “This year, you will see wearable devices carrying Qualcomm chips.” We’re approaching the mid-way point through 2014 already, so if Chang’s estimation is correct, we could see these products launch over the next few months.

Wearable mobile devices, smartwatches and fitness bands in particular, have been capturing headlines for the past year or so. However, we’re about to see several important and exciting new models released – the Moto 360, LG’s G Watch, and potentially, the Apple iWatch – which could bring the market more mainstream attention. Qualcomm isn’t about to let its rivals gets a head start.

Intel is a particular threat. It has been talking about wearable devices for some time, and has introduced several reference devices showing what’s possible with Intel technology. It also recently acquired Basis, the company behind the Basis smartwatch, bringing considerable knowledge and adding key personnel to its forces.

Up and coming processor firm MediaTek also has its own chip, codename Aster, ready to ship sometime during the summer, plus one of its dual-core processors can already be found inside the Omate TrueSmart smartwatch. Qualcomm hasn’t been dragging its heels though. It produces the Toq smartwatch, which primarily showcases its own Mirasol screen technology, and runs a low power Cortex M3 chip.

The report suggests Qualcomm won’t introduce a new, wearable-specific chip this year, and the products Chang expects to launch will run a version of an existing processor. Apparently, a dedicated chip may come in the future, if the market picks up.


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