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MediaTek Announce Smartwatch-focused MT2523 Series Chips

January 4, 2016 - Written By Tom Dawson

It’s that time of year again, where technology companies the world flock to Las Vegas in the States to announce and show off upcoming products for the year ahead. Never a moment wasted, MediaTek is making some interesting announcements this week, even if they’re in the strange situation of not having an end product to show off. That’s because, much like Qualcomm, MediaTek is concerned with producing the processors that live at the heart of mobile devices, and with this latest announcement MediaTek is setting up their stall for wearables such as smartwatches and fitness trackers.

The MT2523 series of processors will feature a Cortex-M4 ARM processor, support for dual-mode Bluetooth, GPS and support for high-resolution displays all in a package 41% smaller than competitive solutions, according to MediaTek, at least. The MT2523 will come as a System-in-Package, or SiP, and could help devices on the market today last beyond a week on single charge. Where displays are concerned MediaTek is saying that their new chip design can support both  MIPI-DSI and serial interfaces as well as ‘true color’ for 2D and 1-bit index color to save memory and consume less power. As the MT2523 comes in at a much smaller size, devices that make use of MediaTek’s latest could be considerably smaller and thinner than today’s current options.

All of this sounds great, and indeed it is a step in the right direction, but MediaTek could be chasing the wrong dragon here. With the MT2523, the Chinese company has focused on hitting a balance between readability and power consumption, but relying on a Cortex-M4 ARM processor would limit devices using the MT2523. Smartwatches like the Huawei Watch and LG Watch Urbane perform so well because the Snapdragon 400 inside of them relies on a much more powerful Cortex-A7 processor, similar to those found in smartphones some years ago. Nevertheless, the MT2523 will be great for fitness trackers with displays and will hit the market later this year, with MediaTek saying second-half of this year.