Broadcom Unveils Global Location Chip for Wearables
The company's GNSS SoC will offer users of fitness trackers and other wearable devices more precise data around distance and speed.Broadcom is readying a chip with global location capabilities that will give people with wearable devices like fitness trackers and smartwatches more accurate activity and location results. Broadcom officials on Feb. 20 announced what they said is the industry's first Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) chip, which they will put on display at the Mobile World Congress 2014 show starting Feb. 24 in Barcelona, Spain. The BCM4771 GNSS system-on-a-chip (SoC), based on the ARM chip architecture, will bring more precise data—such as speed, distance and location—to the growing number of smartwatches and wearable fitness and activity devices hitting the market. The SoC will also bring higher levels of power efficiency than other chip architectures, essentially consuming 75 percent less power than existing GNSS solutions, company officials said. "Today's wearables like fitness trackers have surged in popularity, but often miscalculate speed and distance," Mohamed Awad, director of marketing for Broadcom's Mobile and Wireless Group, said in a statement. "As the largest supplier of discrete GNSS solutions, Broadcom brings its location expertise to deliver more precise fitness and health measurements to the accelerating wearable market."
The market for wearable devices—from smartwatches to fitness trackers to smart headsets like Google Glass—is expected to grow rapidly, contributing the burgeoning Internet of things trend. Analysts with Berg Insight in October 2013 said 8.3 million devices were shipped in 2012 and that the number should hit 64 million units in 2017.