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Intel Talks Wearables at COMPUTEX 2014

By Michael Low - on 3 Jun 2014, 12:49pm

Intel Talks Wearables at COMPUTEX 2014

Intel sees wearables as the new frontier of computing, which explains why the chipmaker held a roundtable session that was dedicated to the subject ahead of its opening keynote at COMPUTEX 2014 today. The session was hosted by Tom Folderi, Senior Director of Intel’s New Devices Group, who touched on a number of topics, including the revised Edison specifications, the on-going Make It Wearable challenge, as well as ideas in which the company hopes to drive growth in the wearables market.

Tom Folderi, Senior Director of Intel's New Devices Group.

Following the acquisition of San Francisco-based fitness tracker start-up Basis in March this year, most will assume that Intel is keen to tackle the market with its own devices. However, the chipmaker has made it clear that it is more interested in developing the technology and chipset platforms for third-party manufacturers to introduce their version of wearable devices. After all, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich demonstrated prototypes of smart earbuds, smart watch and even a smart baby onesie in his CES 2014 keynote.

A little trivia: In 1971, the Intel 4004 processor held 2,300 transistors on a 1cm^2 chip. Advancements in manufacturing process in 2014 enables 1 billion transistors to be packed into a single chip, which makes wearable devices possible.

Due this Summer, the embedded Edison chip has also underwent a redesign after its CES 2014 appearance, featuring a form factor that's slightly larger than a SD card (more specifically, 35.0 x 25.0 x 4.0 mm), integrated Wi-Fi, Bluetooth LE, along with a dual-core Atom SOC that's based on the 22nm Silvermont architecture, and support for over 30 I/O interfaces that are accessible through a 70-pin connector. Still, Quark-based products are still en route, but Intel is prioritizing the Atom-based Edison products for the time being.

Here's one example of what you can do with the data collected from wearables. Seen here is the visualized data from the defining match between Andy Murray and Roger Federer at the 2012 London Olympics.

According to Folderi, there are five ideas in guiding the wearable future, which can be seen below:

  • Provide unique technology that offers a complete experience, one that is not tied to a PC or mobile device.
  • Improve lives by solving practical problems, making lives better for people.
  • Offer fashion and personal style, where devices look as good as they function.
  • Leverage the Cloud where, as an example, a jacket or backpack transmits its GPS coordinates for parental monitoring.
  • Transform experiences in innovative new ways.

Intel intends to usher in a new ecosystem that brings designers, engineers and entrepreneurs together to make wearables the new frontier of computing.

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