MediaTek tipped to be aiming for cheap wearables for China

February 3, 2014
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Like many technology companies and, indeed, like its biggest rival Qualcomm, MediaTek is reported to be eyeing the wearable device market. The difference, however, is that the Taiwanese chip maker is targeting not the mainstream markets in the west but the large yet largely untested waters of China.

MediaTek's wearable plans are said to revolve around a still unannounced all-in-one System-on-Chip named Aster. Details about Aster are stil sketchy but it is believed to sport ARM7 ESJ, Bluetooth 4.0, particularly Bluetooth Low Energy, and 4 MB of Flash and 4 MB of SRAM, all in a small 5.4 mm x 6 mm package. Sources say that MediaTek is touting Aster as the smallest SoC with the highest set of integration features, perfect for wearables.

But the company's definition of what a wearable device might not exactly mesh with existing notions or wishful thinking. Aster is designed not just for smartwatches, which is probably the most popular implementation of wearables today, but also for things like a Bluetooth dialer, which can hardly be considered wearable. Indeed, MediaTek is said to be marketing Aster for any device that is meant to take advantage of a smartphone but not be a smartphone itself.

That MediaTek is targeting the Chinese market has two important implications. The first is that, unlike the US and UK market, China has a more rapidly changing technology market, where new devices and copies of those devices are regularly churned out like clockwork. This means that MediaTek is aiming more for quantity than banking on a small subset of key devices. Secondly, price plays an important role as well, with price tags for devices bordering on the affordable to the extremely cheap. MediaTek is said to be positioning and pricing Aster for wearable devices that will fall within a price range of $20 to $50. Not a bad deal for an extension of your smartphone, but only if quality can be assured as well.

VIA: EE Times


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