Taiwanese semiconductor manufacturer MediaTek today announced their latest processor platform targeted directly at the quickly growing wearables and Internet of Things market. Claimed to be the smallest ever system-on-chip, the MediaTek Aster processor will be joined by LinkIt, a development platform aimed at accelerating wearable device designs targeting what the company calls, the ‘Super-mid market’.
In the last 7-8 years MediaTek have quickly grown to become one of the globes’ leading providers of mobile silicon, with massive penetration of China’s entry-level smartphone and tablet markets. One major reason for their success has been their ability to offer relatively complete reference designs that incorporate drivers, firmware and more specifically, very workable and complete Android OS builds. By doing the lion’s share of the development cycle needed to bring a product to market, MediaTek chips quickly became the processor of choice for small but nimble manufacturers predominantly in Shenzhen China.
Today’s announcement is exciting to us Mobile Geeks because clearly MediaTek are now taking that same strategy and applying it to the nascent wearables market, with a silicon platform again backed by comprehensive and flexible support in the shape of reference designs, apps, algorithms and drivers – combined, this is what MediaTek describe as thier LinkIt development platform.
Of course, they are also offering physical reference design devices, a few of which we were treated to today.
The Aster chip itself is a mere 5.4mm x 6.2mm, which is incredibly small for a full package piece of silicon that is essentially the heart of a full and working computer system or SoC. The reduction is size is crucial to wearable device designers, but we have yet to hear just how low the thermal envelope of the chip can go, with battery integration a major concern in developing wearables that don’t feel restrictive or uncomfortable. The platform is also great for embedded devices in the IoT space.
Alongside the announcement of Aster, MediaTek also launched two new embedded SoCs; the MT7688 and MT7681, both aimed at the digital home. Both embedded processors are suited to connected devices in the home, including adding intelligence and control to general household appliances.
Check out the full gallery from the MediaTek launch earlier today: