Innovation That Matters

Smartwatch chip | Photo source Pixabay

New chip revamps smartwatches for children


Wearable tech company launches dedicated chipset for 4G kids’ smartwatches to meet the evolved needs of connected families.

At the Mobile World Congress in Shanghai last month, Qualcomm unveiled a new chip specifically tailored for kids’ smartwatches. Child-friendly wearables are a growing niche in the Chinese electronics market, with an estimated 25 million sold in 2017 alone. The Snapdragon Wear 2500 is the first refresh of Qualcomm’s smartwatch chip product line-up since 2016. It offers a much-needed upgrade to the relatively bulky design and disappointing endurance of most Wear OS smartwatches today.

Based on Android ‘Oreo’, installing Snapdragon Wear 2500 requires just 512MB of storage and boasts up to two days’ of battery life. It comes with 4G LTE and uses sensor fusion technology to deliver more accurate location tracking for anxious parents. The chip also keeps children connected with their parents though a range of high-quality messaging options. Examples include video calls, text, voice intercom/recording and 4G apps. Additionally, tap-to-pay technology permits kids to leave their wallets behind for everyday purchases at school. On top of benefits relating to expanded mobile capability, Qualcomm’s chip could revitalize the ailing industry of smartwatches. According to International Data Corp, the global wearables market is projected to reach 219.4 million units shipped by 2022. Smartwatches will account for two out of every five wearable devices shipped. Chinese smartphone giant Huawei will be the first to integrate the Snapdragon Wear 2500 into its wearable devices.

Panjaj Kedia, Qualcomm’s senior director of wearables, describes the new chips as ‘dedicated’ to use cases. It seeks to bring rich multimedia content and integrated learning experiences to children while providing parents with peace of mind. The platform supports gesture-based gaming and educational apps. Qualcomm Voice Activation is also incorporated, supporting popular AI-based voice assistants like Amazon Alexa or Cortana for natural dialogue.

The intersection of wearable tech with younger consumers presents ‘the unique opportunity to transform how families connect, live, work and play’, says Kedia. We have already seen innovations aimed at children like the Urban Canary, a bird-like toy that tracks pollution in a child’s surroundings. The AI-enabled ‘Woogie’ is another piece of kid-friendly technology that personalizes learning. How else can device makers better cater towards, and improve, the user experience of young children?

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