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Qualcomm Squares Up To Apple, Boosts Investment In Wearables

Chipmaking giant Qualcomm is bolstering its presence in the wearables space and taking the fight to Apple with a new accelerator program.

Qualcomm’s Snapdragon Wear platform has shipped 40 million units across 100 countries over the past five years, in collaboration with more than 75 manufacturers. The platform sees use in smartwatches targeted at children, adults, and seniors, as well as trackers for pets and accessories.

Pankaj Kedia, senior director & global head, smart wearables, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc, says the company foresees a “hyper-segmented” wearables market in a sector that grew 21 per cent year-over-year.

Pankaj Kedia, Qualcomm.

“We believe Qualcomm Technologies has an important role to play to accelerate this reality by bringing together our platforms and investments to the ecosystem.

“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,” he said.

To promote collaboration in the sector, Qualcomm has launched a Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Program, bringing together device manufacturers, service providers, platform players, independent hardware and software vendors, and system integrators, who will work with OEMs to develop and commercialise solutions more easily.

“We are delighted to announce the Qualcomm Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Program 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,” said Kedia.

Companies such as Arm, Oppo, Zebra, Vodafone, and Fossil have already signed on to the program, with Qualcomm saying more than 60 companies are taking part.

Snapdragon Wear chips are commonly found in smartwatches running Google’s Wear OS, which has consistently lagged behind Apple Watch products in uptake due to lacklustre performance and options. Google is hoping to revive Wear OS’s fortunes by teaming up with Samsung for a new Tizen-inspired operating system.

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