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Diversified MCU battle wearable Market
Shenzhen HongYu Semiconductor Co., Ltd. / 2021-08-30 09:13:45

The wearable device market continues to fever, and all kinds of wearable products with novel shapes bring forth the new. According to Cisco research, the global wearable application products will have a market of US $25 billion in 2015, and it is expected that the wearable market will double and expand in 2020. The sharp increase in the demand of the wearable market has unlimited business opportunities for MCU products with low power consumption and high performance, and has attracted more and more chip manufacturers to actively invest in microcontroller solutions suitable for the design of wearable devices. In addition to stepping up the introduction of corresponding MCU solutions, MCU suppliers have even become famous by sponsoring world-class sports events. At present, the market competition is very fierce.


High consensus on market views


For the current market sales and competition pattern of MCU in wearable devices, most manufacturers have relatively consistent views on many current situations and trends, which are mainly reflected in four aspects. The first is the judgment of the current stage and future development prospect of the market. Suppliers generally believe that the wearable market is still in the early stage of complete competition, but it is in rapid growth and development. Tens of millions of wearable products are expected to flow into the market in the future.


The second is the view of the dispute between AP and MCU. Wearable main control chips are divided into application processor (AP) and MCU. In comparison, AP can provide higher performance than most MCU, but AP will also consume more power. At the same time, due to the lack of on-chip nonvolatile memory (NVM), AP must be connected to separate memory card and module through chipset to work normally, MCU integrates flash and other typical on-chip NVM to support firmware. Therefore, MCU has great advantages over AP in ease of use, integration, cost performance and power consumption“ MCU is a product integrating CPU, flash, ram and peripheral functions. It is mainly used for small-scale systems, while AP is used for larger scale systems. " Said Raman Sharma, marketing director of silicon labs Americas. For example, the bracelet basically adopts MCU, and the watch selects MCU or AP according to the functional complexity.


Third, there is a consensus on the choice of architecture. Sharma further said: "arm Cortex-M processors will occupy the leading position in the wearable middle and low-end market. Among them, suppliers who can provide the most energy-saving MCU will certainly be able to obtain great competitive advantage and the largest market share in the fast-growing market. In the high-end market, that is, high-end smart watches and smart glasses, arm cortex-a Series MCU and AP products will still dominate, and manufacturers focusing on smart phones and tablet AP chips will also get a share. "


Judging from the current use of cortex core, M series products have lower power consumption than a series. At the same time, M Series MCU has the characteristics of ease of use, small package and high integration. For wearable products with low power consumption, Cortex-M0 + The MCU composed of M3 and cortex-m4 core with floating-point computing power has become the best solution, providing excellent cost performance, sufficient performance and longer battery life.


The fourth is the view on the pre development trend of future technology. MCU manufacturers believe that due to the extremely limited volume and space of wearable devices, high integration and complete system level solutions have become an inevitable trend, such as integrating peripheral devices such as wireless chips, GPS and sensors into a SoC.


"Internet of things (IOT) SOC is bound to become a necessary driving engine for rapid innovation and integration in the wearable market. For silicon labs, mixed signal integration will be the key to reducing the cost and complexity of IOT applications." Sharma said. He expects that SOC will integrate arm Cortex-M core, embedded flash memory, analog / mixed signal peripherals, multi protocol transceivers that can support ZigBee, Bluetooth and sub GHz connections, and sensor interfaces, all of which will be integrated into small package, low-cost and low-power single-chip products.


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