ARM intent on making smartwatch battery life less rubbish

Chip manufacturer ARM is splashing the cash in a move that could eventually improve the battery life of wearable devices, like the Apple Watch.

The Cambridge-based firm has announced the acquisition of Sunrise Micro Devices (SMD) and Wicentric for undisclosed fees.

The two companies are now part of ARM’s Cordio portfolio, which concentrates on creating low-power wireless communications for power-sapping devices such as smartwatches and fitness bands.

While the Apple Watch has undoubtedly given wearables as a whole a massive popularity boost, it’s still not capable of lasting 24 hours off a single charge. It’s an issue that affects most of its rivals too.

Much of the power consumed by wearables is used up while communicating with other devices, such as smartphones. ARM wants to make this process less draining.

“Operating below 1 Volt enables the radio to ‘sip’ energy from a battery, thus greatly extending the device’s life,” said ARM. “In addition, it makes it easier to run without batteries by using energy harvesting technologies.”

Prior to the buyouts, SMD was a provider of sub-one volt Bluetooth radio intellectual property, while Wicentric was a developer of low-power wireless products.

Related: 5 Apple Watch features you probably missed

Smartwatch battery life has been a stumbling block for many early adopters with most devices already on the market struggling to edge past a single day on a full charge.

Last month Huawei claimed its inbound Huawei Watch would offer the most substantial battery life of any Android Wear watch to date, although remained tight-lipped on the power supply’s exact longevity.