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Broadcom Launches new Platform for Smartwatches, claims to Improve Battery Life

February 25, 2015 - Written By Palash Volvoikar

Broadcom, one of the major names in the semiconductor industry, has just announced a new platform, designed specifically for smartwatches. The new platform claims to reduce power consumption, and comes with integrated GPS with sensor hub processing and support for wireless charging. This comes as a good news for the smartwatch ecosystem, since all the existing smartwatches ship with chipsets quite similar to those found in today’s smartphones, and the availability of a platform explicitly designed for smartwatches makes way for more optimized devices.

Broadcom claims that the new platform cuts down the power consumption by up to 40 percent, as compared to the previous generation of chipsets. It also brings in a smaller form factor, which is also a great news, as the smaller the chipset, the more room the manufacturers get, which can be used to cram in a bigger battery. These two improvements will ensure a better battery life, which seems to be one of the primary challenges of the smartwatch ecosystem. The platform brings in an advanced application processor, AxA7, and includes Broadcom’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth combo chip, BCM4343, the BCM4773, which is the GPS with sesnor hub processing chip, BCM20795, which adds NFC and secure element support, and lastly the BCM59350, which adds wireless charging support. The platform also has camera support, and is compatible with the Android Wear platform. It also has 2G/3G modem support.

Android Wear, as of now, has no support for 2G/3G modem, NFC, Wi-Fi and camera. However, Broadcom’s including support for these features in the new platform is definitely a smart move, which will ensure that the platform will not require a hardware revision, in case Android Wear decides to add support to those features in the near future, or a manufacturer wants to use the platform to develop devices for platforms other than just Android Wear.

The new platform will be shown off at the MWC 2015 next week, quite like how Broadcom had announced a new GPS chip targeted at wearables, at the MWC 2014. As far as availability is concerned, Broadcom has said that the platform is now being sampled to manufacturers, but nothing has been said about whether there is already an Android Wear device in the pipeline, based on the new platform. We might get to hear more at the MWC 2015. What features are you expecting to see in the smartwatches of 2015? Let us know in the comments.