MediaTek targets under-$50 wearable devices: Page 2 of 3

February 03, 2014 // By Junko Yoshida
MediaTek targets under-$50 wearable devices
MediaTek is quietly going after the emerging market of under-$50 wearable devices. The company's new "all-in-one" SoC, called Aster, is sampling now only to a select group of customers.

an overstatement.

After all, today's wearable devices, if loosely defined, are all over the map - ranging from wristwatches, shoes, and glasses to headbands, clothing, and home healthcare devices - with no killer wearable form factor on the horizon, at least not yet.

Different wearable devices demand a different set of sensors. They also come in different shapes and sizes, as they will be worn on different parts of the body. Their evolutionary trajectory suggests that they will be far more diverse and complex than mere remote-control units in smartphones.

And the fact is, many smartwatches on the market today are designed for just that purpose. Besides email, voice mail, and social network message notifications, a smartwatch can control various functions of a smartphone remotely.

MediaTek's Lin added that its Aster is even capable of offering a "viewfinder function" on a wearable device, when wirelessly connected to a smartphone's camera. By reducing the image size, the picture can be transferred via Bluetooth from a camera in the smartphone to a small display of the new smartwatch. It allows a user to remotely frame a picture right on a smartwatch display, instead of awkwardly tilting a bulky phablet in the air.

Although MediaTek displayed Aster at its suite during the International CES earlier this month, the company is not giving out any more details of the SoC. When asked about its price, Lin noted that Aster is "suitably priced for end-products ranging from $20 to $50." The SoC's mass production is slated for the third quarter of 2014.

Mediatek's Aster versus Freescale's WaRP

At a time when wearable devices are expected to come in various shapes and functions, how could a single SoC platform such as Aster, which doesn't even come with sensors, address its diversified requirements?

For example, Freescale's wearable reference platform, dubbed WaRP, is at least designed for a flexible form factor, extended battery life, and expandable architecture. Freescale's

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