New Broadcom Chip Brings Standalone Wi-Fi to Wearables


Smartwatches continue to rise in popularity, with the release of Android Wear from Google, and potentially the iWatch from Apple. While the watches have tons of functionality on their own, presently they need to be paired with a smartphone to get the most out of their potential. Broadcom aims to make that experience a little more seamless with the release of its game-changing chip.

 

For a smartwatch to receive text/email notifications, listen to music, take calls, or any of its uses with a smartphone, the watch has to be connected via Bluetooth rather than Wi-Fi, and for good reason…. battery life. If a smartwatch was to exclusively use Wi-Fi, it would constantly be searching for a connection, draining the battery, just like it does on every smartphone. However, this increase in battery life forces the loss of a couple of key abilities like longer range, as well as greater speed and bandwidth.

 

Broadcom has managed to enable Wi-Fi on low-power devices like smartwatches through its new chip’s ability to switch between both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when the signal gets out of range. The chip’s secret lies in its ability to change between Bluetooth and Wi-Fi behind the scenes, truly creating a seamless experience for the smartwatch wearer.

 

With such technology lies nearly an unlimited out of applications that demand greater range and bandwidth. One of the key applications can revolve around the watch being used as a remote, such as controlling the music or smart home applications from a distance via Wi-Fi. With such potential from this new chip, the smartphone will begin to serve more of a role as a home base device, much like the computer is to the smartphone.

 

For more info, check out the official statement from Broadcom.

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