Smart wearables use smartphone chipsets despite several claims otherwise: ABI Research

Consumers opting for smart wearables are forced to compromise the quality and cost of the devices as many of them are found to flout the standards set for their optimal performance.

A recent ABI Research report suggests that smart watches from many popular brands use smartphone components in lieu of optimized smartwatch components despite their claims otherwise.

The result of this is less than optimal battery life and unnecessary cost/size that get passed on to the consumer.

Smart Watches

The research agency has cracked a number of popular devices including Samsung Galaxy Gear and Z-watch use application processors originally targeted for smartphone/tablets. The uWatch goes a step further by using a full blown GPRS SOC, MediaTek MT6260, but only uses the integrated BT.

Some other smart watches like the Sony series and Pebble use discrete solutions.

Wearable peripherals market is still in the infancy stage. Chipset suppliers are still not confident in investing the market, and that could be the reason why they are using smartphone chipsets instead of optimized components in these devices, says ABI Research.

Jim Mielke, ABI Research’s VP of engineering said, “Of the solutions available the oversized application processors draw too much current and cost far too much. Discrete solutions tend to be physically large and also a little higher cost than necessary.”

The closest match to this is the SOCs with embedded BT which can be both power and size efficient with the only drawback being slight cost impact, Mielke added. He expects that a number of truly optimal solutions will be available once the market takes off.

The use of adapted components in smart wearables can be both wasteful and power inefficient. They also compromise the user experience.

Chipset vendors need to go the extra mile and create optimized chips, or they risk eroding the potential of the wearable device category, the agency said.

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