Qualcomm Inc says it expects its customers to launch wearable devices equipped with its chips later this year, although the company does not have dedicated chips for such devices now.
However, the world’s top mobile phone chip supplier is hoping to catch up with Taiwanese rival MediaTek Inc (聯發科), which already tapped into the fledgling market six months ago.
“Qualcomm has all the technologies needed,” Qualcomm CDMA Technologies Taiwan president Eddie Chang (張力行) said yesterday on the sidelines of a press conference. “This year, you will see wearable devices carrying Qualcomm chips.”
He declined to reveal details about Qualcomm’s wearables programs, but said the company may consider making chips specifically designed for wearable devices if the market reached a large scale.
Last month, market researcher International Data Corp forecast global shipments of wearable devices would more than triple from last year to more than 19 million units this year. The market would expand at a compound annual growth rate of 78.4 percent during the next few years to 111.9 million units in 2018, IDC said.
In November last year, MediaTek said Hong Kong-based Omate had adopted its dual-core MT6572 handset chip for its TrueSmart smartwatch.
Last month, the company said it planned to ship a new low-power chip, dubbed Aster, designed for wearable devices later this quarter, while unveiling the new chip at a product launch in Beijing.
Last month, MediaTek president Hsieh Ching-jiang (謝清江) told investors that the company had secured orders from smartphone customers and watch manufacturers.
Meanwhile, Chang said more 64-bit processors from different companies would be commercialized this year.
The 64-bit processor has become a hot topic and a new standard for high-end smartphones after Apple Inc’s iPhone 5S adopted a 64-bit processor, speeding its data processing by 50 percent over previous iPhone models.
Qualcomm launched its new 64-bit Snapdragon 810 and Snapdragon 808 processors last month, which are to be manufactured on 20-nanometer technology by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Co (台積電).
End products equipped with the company’s latest 64-bit processors are expected to be available in the first half of next year, Qualcomm said.
MediaTek has said it would launch its first 64-bit processor by the end of this year.