Nov 4, 2021
Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.
Consumer enthusiasm in the wearables space remains high as we approach another holiday season. The smartwatch segment continues to experience rapid growth with investments from leading players in the industry including Google, Samsung, and Facebook. Increasingly, we are seeing new segments emerge and grow, including smartwatches for kids, teens, and seniors; smart devices for enterprises; smart trackers for pets; and accessories. This broadening range is providing more choices for consumers across OSs, use cases, and price points.
Pankaj Kedia, senior director, product marketing, who leads the wearables segment for Qualcomm Technologies, kicked-off our inaugural Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Summit, held on October 26-27, 2021, which saw an overwhelming response from 400+ participants at 150+ companies spanning 30+ countries. The virtual summit was a two-day event featuring ecosystem members and industry experts. We heard from AliveCore, Bosch, CCS Insights, Facebook, Facer, Google, Mason, Mobvoi, NXP, Pegatron, Philips, STMicroelectronics, Wagz, Wistron, and Zebra.
Kedia described Qualcomm Technologies’ commitment to the wearables segment by outlining the continued investments we’re making and highlighting a broad range of innovative products our customers have launched earlier this year. He noted that we started with the Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform over five years ago, launched the Snapdragon Wear 3100 platform in 2018, and the Snapdragon Wear 4100+ platform in 2020. Kedia also added that Qualcomm Technologies is, once again, significantly stepping up its investments and plans to launch new platforms in 2022 based on its innovative hybrid approach comprised of a new system-on-a-chip and a new always-on co-processor based on the latest process nodes.
While investments from Qualcomm Technologies form a solid foundation, we need the larger ecosystem to invest aggressively to capitalize on market opportunities. We launched the Qualcomm Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Program in July 2021 with 65 founding members and the goal to help accelerate the growth of the wearables segment by supporting ecosystem collaboration and innovation. Over the last 90 days, we have seen overwhelming interest from the broader ecosystem, growing membership to over 110 leading industry players. It takes OEMs, ODMs, Operators, ISVs, IHVs, and Platform vendors to work together to deliver user experiences that delight consumers and enterprises alike. We welcome support from the growing set of industry leaders and look forward to supporting collaboration amongst the member companies.
Here are a few highlights from the summit:
Wear OS for consumer smartwatches
We were delighted to have Bjorn Kilburn, Google’s director of product management for their wearables segment, join us at the summit to discuss his company’s vision and investments in the Wear OS smartwatch segment. Kilburn described the smartwatch as the “next frontier in mobile computing” and emphasized the importance of 4G-connected experiences, differentiated UX, apps, and services. He also discussed Google’s collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies to deliver always-connected experiences at ultra-low power via the hybrid approach.
Expanding visual experiences for wearables
Day 2 started with a fireside chat between Pankaj Kedia and Peter Matsimanis from Facebook Reality Labs. The way consumers are experiencing digital content, whether it’s text, pictures, videos, or immersive media, is rapidly changing with wearables.
Matsimanis described how Facebook is bringing visual experiences to life through wearable technology and alluded to Facebook’s own device efforts. He also discussed how collaboration through efforts such as our accelerator program are making it possible to quickly conceptualize and develop new emerging experiences with innovative wearable devices.
OEM solutions for consumers, enterprise, and pets
We welcomed Bo-Robert Zhang from Mobvoi who described his company’s vision for health and wellness with the Tic suite of services. He also discussed Mobvoi’s TicWatch and TicBuds portfolio and how they are designed to work better together. Dan Baldwin, from Zebra Technologies, gave an overview of the enterprise space and discussed the growing need for wearable form factors catered to hands-free use cases. And Sam Stoddard, from Wagz, described the fast-growing pet tracking market and the innovations Wagz is bringing to market to differentiate its offerings.
Reference designs from leading ODMs
We had presentations from our key industry ODMs, Pegatron, Wistron, Thundercomm, and Mason, outlining the Snapdragon Wear based reference designs they have, to bring new user experiences at low costs and faster development time. Pegatron showcased its Snapdragon Wear 4100-based reference design that incorporates an ECG sensor and software algorithms from AliveCor, while Wistron spoke to its turnkey mobile personal emergency response wearable solutions for seniors. Thundecomm outlined its end-to-end solutions including applications, middleware, and development kits. Finally, Mason showcased its A4100 smartwatch, based on the Snapdragon Wear 4100 platform, designed for enterprise use cases and that can be customized for a variety of scenarios, including patient monitoring, hospitality, or employee safety.
Innovations around sensors and platforms
Our platform ecosystem members including AliveCor, Bosch, NXP, Philips, and STMicroelectronics shared their latest innovations in wearable hardware and software on Day 2 of the summit. The companies demonstrated how these advancements are driving the next generation of wearables with capabilities such as security-rich connectivity, machine learning and AI, health and wellness monitoring, and other features. The presentations, once again, highlighted how the prolific segmentation in wearables is creating unique opportunities for companies across the industry ecosystem.
The Qualcomm Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Summit served as both a celebration of, and crucial step in, the program’s continued growth and development. Qualcomm Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Program members shared pertinent insights from their unique vantage point across smartwatches and smart trackers. Our ultimate goal was to show the commitment this wearables ecosystem has to transforming the way we connect, compute, and communicate; we saw plenty of signs that not only is the ecosystem pursuing the opportunities, but it is also thriving and on its way to building a brighter wearables future.
We’re always looking for new, innovative members to continue building on the Snapdragon Wear platforms for a better, more accessible wearable future, so please consider joining us today to take advantage of the benefits that come with the program.