Our friends at ifixit always do a great job in terms of giving you an inside look at some of the higher profile mobile and wearable devices. However, in recent weeks some new devices have emerged which have not hit the ifixit radar just yet. We wanted to give you a glimpse into the ARM technology powering both the communication and user interfaces on some of these devices.
It’s clear that today, most of the wearable tech adoption is happening in the health and fitness category. For those seeking in-depth analysis on their training, Polar has recently brought some nice high-end devices to market. In this first teardown, we take a look at what powers the Polar V800 GPS sports watch.
For connectivity, the Polar V800 of course utilizes a Bluetooth processor. In this case you see the Texas Instruments CC2564 which relies on 32-bit ARM technology. At the heart of the Polar V800 is the STM32F437 from STMicroelectronics, also based on a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 core. With integrated sleep modes and optional state retention capabilities, the Cortex-M4 processor is specifically designed to deliver high efficiency of signal processing associated with sensing, combined with low levels of power consumption.
You will find many of today’s popular wearables are based on the Cortex-M4 including the Sony Smartband Talk, the TomTom Runner and the Microsoft Band.
This next teardown also relies on Cortex-M4 technology. The Silicon Labs' EFM32 Wonder Gecko 32-bit MCU is the processor that drives another fitness-focused smartwatch, the Basis Peak Watch from Intel. Noted industry analyst Patrick Moorhead, founder and president of Moor Insights Strategy, recently called the Basis Peak the first wearable he has used that “accurately and automatically measures, captures and displays” his heart rate without the need for a chest strap.
As you take a look at the teardown picture, you will also notice that the Basis Peak includes an ARM-based Bluetooth processor from Nordic Semiconductor. Nordic’s nRF51822 Bluetooth SoC utilizes the ultra-low power ARM Cortex-M0 processor, the smallest of the Cortex-M range of processors that achieves 32-bit processing at 8-bit price points.
Finally, we take a look at one of the more fashionable devices that was recently launched, the MICA, also from Intel. MICA, which stands for My Intelligent Communications Accessory, goes a step further than some of the previously discussed devices and takes advantage of higher performance ARM Cortex-A cores capable of running rich operating systems at very low levels of power consumption, but combining cellular communication as the connectivity.
This teardown picture shows the SoC that powers the MICA is the XG632 SoC from Intel and will also become available from Rockchip in the future. The XG632 SoC, manufactured by TSMC, is powered by two ARM Cortex-A5 cores and operates 3G, WiFi and BT connectivity. With ARM cores being utilized in over 95% of all modem shipments demonstrating the benefits of combining CPUs optimized for real time processing with those optimized for running rich operating systems
As we are on the eve of the 2015 International Consumer Electronics Show and you peruse some of the newest wearable technology on display at the show, it’s important to remember that only ARM and its partners can meet the diversity requirements and fuel innovation in this space.
The wearables market is real today – and it runs on ARM.
nice post. would like to know about the heart rate sensors and batteries used.