Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Qualcomm brings LTE M1 and NB-IoT to wearables

Steve Rogerson
July 5, 2017
At last week’s Mobile World Congress in Shanghai, Qualcomm Technologies said it was bringing LTE categories M1 (eMTC) and NB1 (NB-IoT) connectivity to the wearables industry.
The Snapdragon Wear 1200 platform takes advantage of the wide coverage provided by emerging LTE narrowband technologies, or LTE IoT, to help usher in a new generation of ultra-low power, highly energy efficient, always connected and cost-efficient experiences to targeted purpose wearable devices such as children, pet, elderly and fitness trackers.
This complements the existing Snapdragon Wear 1100 and 2100 platforms.
“The smart wearables industry continues to grow with prolific innovation across targeted opportunities such as kids, pets, elderly and fitness,” said Pankaj Kedia, senior director of Qualcomm Technologies. “To effectively scale, these opportunities require ultra-low power, highly energy efficient, always connected and cost-efficient solutions. With the introduction of Snapdragon Wear 1200, we extend our wearables offerings to bring LTE IoT categories M1 and NB1 to connect the next generation of wearable devices and provide an exciting complement to our highly successful Snapdragon Wear 2100 platform for smartwatches.”
Snapdragon Wear 1200 is a multimode platform for targeted purpose wearables where consumers are demanding a smaller size, longer battery life, smarter sensing, constant location, robust security and an always connected experience with comprehensive coverage.
This platform measures 79mm2 including LTE system-on-chip (SoC), power management integrated circuit and wireless transceiver, power management operation, flexibility to add a range of external sensor hubs, and a global multimode M1, NB1 and E-GPRS modem with support for 15 global RF bands, pre-certified for major global operators.
Location features include support for GPS, Glonass, Gallileo and Beidou constellations, low power geo-fencing and cloud based location services with global terrestrial positioning using wifi and cellular services.
The platform also features an integrated applications processor for Linux and Thread X based applications and is scalable to support voice over LTE, wifi and Bluetooth. For privacy and security protection, it has integrated hardware-based security features including the Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment, a hardware cryptographic engine, hardware random number generator and TrustZone.
Qualcomm also announced collaborations with original design manufacturers Borqs and Quanta, who have developed reference platforms based on Snapdragon Wear 1200. These reference designs target the children, elderly and pet tracking segments and will enable device manufacturers to commercialise products in an accelerated fashion while leveraging the features and functionality of Snapdragon Wear 1200.
“Borqs has strategically invested in IoT for smart connected wearables with tailored solutions for kids, elderly, enterprise and fitness in collaboration with Qualcomm Technologies and are pleased to be part of the expanding Snapdragon Wear ecosystem,” said George Thangadurai, senior vice president at Borqs. “Our close collaboration on Snapdragon Wear 1200 has resulted in a highly innovative ready-to-commercialise reference design built on proven platforms that can leverage existing LTE networks and support bands utilized all over the world.”
Baron Chen, vice president of sales at Quanta, added: “Quanta is excited to be collaborating with Qualcomm Technologies in the exciting smart wearables segment. We are delighted to be announcing our reference design based on the Snapdragon Wear 1200, which will help our joint customers take full advantage of Qualcomm Technologies’ platform while scaling their wearable devices across a range of use cases and experiences.”
Since Qualcomm’s entry into the wearables semiconductor space less than three years ago, more than 150 wearables products have adopted its platforms and over 80 per cent of Android Wear smartwatches launched or announced are based on the Snapdragon Wear family.
Also at Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm announced ultrasonic fingerprint sensors for display, glass and metal, detection of directional gestures, and underwater fingerprint match and device wake-up. It is claimed to be the first commercially announced integrated ultrasonic-based mobile technology to detect heart beat and blood flow for improved mobile authentication experiences.