For the past couple of years we've noticed a shift in focus of dominant players in the smartphone space. As the smartphone market moves from rapid expansion to a maturing phase, the companies on top don't want to be left behind in the same way the notebook PC vendors were at the start of the smartphone/tablet race.

At the same time, continued reduction in transistor feature sizes and power consumption have enabled a new class of low power SoC. ARM's product offerings in particular extend both up and down the power curve. There's Cortex M for ultra low power devices, often perfect for wearables, and then a range of Cortex A CPUs for higher end wearables all the way up to smartphones, tablets and eventually servers. 

Initial successes in the wearables space were specialized pieces of hardware. For example, pedometers and health trackers like the Fitbits of the world. Most of these designs leverage Cortex M series CPU cores. More recently however we've seen a more serious push into the world of smart watches. Initial plays here were more disorganized in terms of hardware and OS selection, but we're beginning to see some consolidation on the heels of Google's Android Wear announcement. 

At last month's Google IO we saw the first official Android Wear devices launch from LG and Samsung. Later this summer we'll also see the arrival of the Moto 360, an arguably much more appealing Android Wear device thanks to a greater focus on design. I've spent the past couple of weeks with LG's G Watch and am still toying with the best way to present my thoughts on the device. In short it seems like a great platform if you're a developer, but honestly lacks the battery life (I measured under 9 hours of actual use, display on but dimmed on a single charge) and feature set today to really convince me as a consumer.

Last month we soft launched our new Wearables content section at AnandTech, with ARM graciously agreeing to be a launch sponsor. ARM's support will allow us to likely do some wearable giveaways in the not too distant future too.

The path to wearable computing becoming something more substantial however demands a lot of things to change. If we're talking about watches we need better battery life, the functionality needs to improve as well (although I am impressed by some of what's already been introduced for Android Wear). I'm curious to get your thoughts on the wearable space. What would it take for you to add yet another computing platform to your life? Is anyone out there waiting for the perfect smart watch? I know I stopped wearing watches nearly a decade ago, and to go back I'll likely need quite a bit of convincing in terms of a great product.

If you've got thoughts on this space, we'd love to hear them as they'll help shape our coverage going forward. Leave your comments below.

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  • Homeles - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Because the device would totally be able to draw enough power to do so.
  • purplestater - Sunday, July 13, 2014 - link

    Such a device could definitely be manipulated to flash rapidly in order to induce seizures, or at least vertigo, in an awful lot of people.
  • inighthawki - Friday, July 11, 2014 - link

    You're making wild assumptions about how these devices work, such as not being able to be turned off, or that there's even a remote connection that would allow a hacker in. I'm sure Hollywood has you cowering in a corner, but if you simplify and restrict both the communication and execution protocol between the implant and external sources enough, it can be designed to be impossible to hack without being physically present to alter the device.
  • hp79 - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    LOL, he watched too much sci-fi movies.
  • chaoticlusts - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Yes there could be all sorts of horrible things done too you via an artificial implant you have...However the practicality of using that method to maim/kill someone compared too the 'good old-fashion' ways will likely mean it doesn't happen.

    As it stands there are already millions of people worldwide that have artificial implants which have been successfully hacked with fatal consequences. But even with pacemaker hacking being public knowledge for years I'm not aware of any murders by that method and even if I somehow missed it's occurrence there certainly hasn't been widespread killing sprees because it's simply not practical compared to guns/knives/poison/disease/car etc.

    There's always risks to things the question needs to be does it present any greater risk or vulnerability than you are currently exposed to in life and if so do you believe the benefits outway that risk. Personally I'll happily line up for life enhancing implants (I've already played around with trivial stuff like neodymium finger implants), however if you don't feel comfortable with it by all means don't get them I just thought I'd mention we as a society already strolled past those risks some years ago ^_^
  • piiman - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    "As it stands there are already millions of people worldwide that have artificial implants which have been successfully hacked with fatal consequences."

    Really? name one?
  • hughlle - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    The only instances I'm aware of are like most hacks. Proven by a group of researchers at a conference as possible, but with no known real world example.
  • chaoticlusts - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    That's the stuff I'm referring too but the proof at the conference was sending a signal from a laptop too a pacemaker that caused a shock that would easily be fatal if it was implanted in someone at the time. The guy who discovered it was showing it off as a warning, given a 'real world' example beyond what he showed would require murder/attempted murder I'll take the example he gave instead :)
  • chaoticlusts - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Pacemakers and potentially insulin pumps too, basically any medical implant that can receive wireless communications. The hacks exist but like I said I'm unaware of them ever being used on a person (when demonstrated it was on devices that weren't inside someone at the time for obvious reasons).

    Sorry the phrasing in that last post was exceptionally clumsy (insomnia in overdrive). I didn't mean millions have been killed I meant millions had devices that can be hacked in that fashion.
  • mickulty - Saturday, July 12, 2014 - link

    Imagine a screamer, only you can't look away.

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