The new buzzword is 'wearables,' and though they are slowly catching on, make no mistake, they will be a hot topic and huge money-maker when all is said and done. Like any new device, the marketability of wearables is dependent on certain other third party contributions – one of the largest is battery life. As we strive to cut-our-cords, we are trading our dependency from a cord to a battery – because all things fun require power – but we do not want to keep running to a charger every few hours or even every day. Manufacturers have made small strides in batteries, but in order to give batteries a 'helping hand' so to speak, manufacturers are placing a high priority on devices or the chips in those devices, to consume less power…thus increasing battery life.
One such manufacturer is NXP Semiconductors N.V. and at CES 2016 they introduced their new QN 9080: "the world's most power efficient Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) System-on-a-Chip (SoC)." This new chip is 40-percent more energy efficient than its nearest competitor, which translates into an unprecedented 2X longer battery life for wearables. Asit Goel, senior vice president and general manager of the secure monitoring and control business line said, "This is the dawn of new, super energy efficient, smart wearables. Today's consumer is always on-the-go and needs to be connected to their personal data. The QN 9080 allows for just that – enabling far superior battery life, enhanced wireless robustness, support for multiple sensors and the smallest system size to create the ultimate connected experience that consumers demand." NXP claims that the QN 9080 will deliver a BLE SoC solution that could allow smart wearable devices to last up to a full month before needing a charge…a claim that will certainly have to be tested in the field.
NXP has worked closely with wearable and fitness device manufacturers to make wearables more "connected, secure and energy efficient." The QN 9080 uses the ARM Cortex architecture and the 2.4 GHz Bluetooth radio, yielding two times the performance and one-half the power consumption of existing chips available today. The new chip also uses a "fusion signal processor" requiring one-quarter of the power to operate. No release date was announced, however, samples are available to "key" customers.