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Samsung wants to put an “ultra-slim” 4G smartwatch on your wrist

Samsung is now mass-producing a wearable processor designed for the next generation of smartwatches.

What is it?

The South Korean giant’s chip-making arm has kicked off production for the Exynos 7 Dual 7270, a processor that will soon start appearing in fitness trackers, smartwatches, and other wearable devices. Samsung says that the new chip will let engineers build “ultra-slim wearable devices”, and that it features a 4G/LTE modem – for nippy browsing via your wrist.

Why is it exciting?

The most exciting thing about the Exynos 7270 is that it’s the world’s first wearable processor to be built on a 14nm FinFET manufacturing process. That means it will be significantly less power hungry, and potentially far more powerful, than its 28nm predecessor.

Are there any alternatives?

In February this year, market-leading chipmaker (and Samsung rival) Qualcomm launched its own smartwatch-focused chip: the Snapdragon Wear 2100. This was followed in May by the Snapdragon Wear 1100. Both chips have already featured in a number of devices, including Fossil’s new Q smartwatches, which launched at IFA 2016 in Berlin last month. However, they’re both built on a somewhat outdated 28nm manufacturing process, so Qualcomm has some catching up to do.

Anything else?

Ben K Hur, Samsung’s VP of System LSI Marketing, said: “The Exynos 7270 presents a new paradigm for system-on-chips dedicated to wearables. It’s a groundbreaking solution that will greatly accelerate wider adoption of wearable devices by overcoming limitations in current solutions such as energy usage and design flexibility.”

Samsung already has its own line of “Gear” smartwatches – the most recent of which is the Samsung Gear S3 – so there’s a good chance we’ll see this new chip feature in next year’s Gear lineup.

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