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21 July, 2021 - 15:36 By Tony Quested

Qualcomm launches wearables accelerator

Qualcomm Technologies has injected rocket fuel into the engine of growth for the wearables market which is already showing sky-high potential.

Cambridge superchip architect Arm is among a group of heavy hitters backing a new wearables ecosystem accelerator programme just launched by Qualcomm, which has significant Cambridge operations.

Qualcomm says the market is already growing at the rate of 21 per cent a year but adds that the optimum potential of wearables is only just beginning to be tapped.

Qualcomm says the segment holds considerable promise but also presents daunting challenges. The accelerator has been launched to facilitate collaboration among companies and fast-track solutions to these challenges.

The supergroup comprises device manufacturers, service providers, platform players, independent hardware and software vendors and system integrators who will collaborate with OEMs to more easily develop and commercialise products and solutions.

The programme brings together industry leaders to discuss trends, share new technology and product direction, hold training sessions, demonstrate concepts, launch products, and facilitate matchmaking sessions amongst the ecosystem players. 

The collective goal of the members is to accelerate the wearables segment by delivering differentiated experiences at lower development cost and faster production time.

Pankaj Kedia, senior director & global head, smart wearables, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc said: “We are delighted to announce the Qualcomm Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Programme today and have an ambitious set of activities planned. 

“Our goal is to provide a vehicle in the industry where ecosystem members collaborate to deliver differentiated wearable experiences and inject new energy and innovation in this exciting space.”

Arm is equally enthused by the potential for progress. Ketan Shah, senior director of XR and wearables, Client Line of Business at Arm, said: “The wearables market continues to evolve across a range of form factors and use cases which require efficient performance for complex and immersive experiences.

“Arm is focused on providing the compute performance and security needed to enable next-generation wearable devices and through the Qualcomm programme will work closely with the wider ecosystem to drive collaboration and change across the industry.”

More than 60 wearable industry leaders such as Arm, BBK, Fossil, Oppo, Verizon, Vodafone, and Zebra are participating in the programme.

The wearables segment has been growing and segmenting at a rapid pace powering products such as smart watches targeted for children, teens, adults, and seniors – as well as smart trackers and accessories for their pets – across consumer and enterprise use cases.

Qualcomm is a leading player in the market and Kedia says: “We are significantly growing our investments in leading edge ground-up silicon, platforms, and technologies and plan to roll out new Snapdragon Wear platforms across segments over the next year to meet our long-term vision.

“We envision a hyper segmented world of wearables and believe Qualcomm Technologies has an important role to play to accelerate this reality by bringing together our platforms and investments to the ecosystem.”

Over the past five years, the company has shipped 40+ million units across 100+ countries, collaborated with 75+ device manufacturers and 25+ service providers while shipping 250+ wearables products – that is one new product, on average, per week.

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