ABI Research says consumers are suffering because conventional smartphone components are being used in smart watches, even when manufacturers claim otherwise. Its ‘teardown’ service reports a lack of optimised smartwatch components, resulting in the end user experiencing sub-optimal battery life, unnecessary costs and a device that’s bulkier than it needs to be.
According to ABI Research, the Samsung Galaxy Gear and SmartQ Z-watch use application processors originally targeted for smartphones or tablets, while the Chinese-made uWatch includes the MediaTek MT6260 SoC but only uses the integrated Bluetooth.
Jim Mielke, ABI Research’s Vice President of Engineering, said “Our findings show the chipset suppliers are playing the ‘wait and see’ game before making investments into wearable peripherals. 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 is the SOCs with embedded BT which can be both power and size efficient with the only drawback being slight cost impact. Once the market takes off expect to see a number of truly optimal solutions available.”
“Some chipset vendors are claiming to have launched new chips optimized for wearable computing devices, like smartwatches, but ABI Research has found that some of these claims are in fact misleading at best; basically just rebranding existing chipsets. Chipset vendors need to go the extra mile and create optimized chips, or they risk eroding the potential of the wearable device category.”