Recently, we covered Apple’s M7 chip and its potential to change the future of activity tracking wearables. We think the next exciting development in processing–especially for processors used in wearable devices–might come from Intel, which has recently made exciting recent hires and focused on low-consumption chips that can efficiently process data.
An up-and-coming team at Intel, dubbed “New Devices”, has recently garnered a lot of press following the hiring of Steve Holmes, a Nike FuelBand design engineer, and Hans Moritz, the leader of Oakley Airwave. These new additions to the group, which is being led by former Palm and Apple executive Mike Bell, are clear indicators that Intel is gearing up its engineering team for the development of an impending wearable product.
In addition, Intel has been vocal about its development of a new line of microchips, the Quark series that appears to be a perfect solution for processing power in the small confines of a wearable computing device. The Quark chip, revealed last week by Intel CEO Brian Krzanich, is a 14 nanometer chip that is a staggering 5 times smaller than their next smallest chip line, the Atom chips. The main draw of the Quark chips lies in its power consumption. In the past, Intel has focused mainly on producing the most powerful chips in the market with factors like power consumption an afterthought. The Quark represents Intel’s first major effort in producing a low-consumption chip that could work very well in the power-scarce environment of a wearable device. Combine this with the Quark’s 32-bit processor and we have a match made in heaven, a power-saving chipset that is capable of keeping up with the increasing demands of wearable computing devices.
Prior to Intel’s efforts, all eyes were on ARM to spearhead the development of power-efficient chips for wearable devices. Arm has already made strides in the power-saving chip design with their large array of chips designed for smaller products like smartphones. With Intel on board, we will see increased competition between the two firms over the wearable market, and this will certainly be a good thing for consumers. Not only will wearable devices become more useful with prolonged battery life and more efficient processing power, but the entire landscape for devices that currently make use of smaller processors will change.