Hardware ahead of software

Broadcom has an Android Wear platform with 3G, NFC and more

Broadcom wants to make it easier for hardware makers to build an Android Wear smartwatch, complete with features that Google’s software doesn’t even support yet, notes PhoneScoop. The chip company introduced its watch platform that pairs a power efficient quad-core processor with mobile broadband radio, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS, NFC, wireless charging and optional camera support.

Indeed, the hardware is far ahead of the software in a few ways, much like the Sony Smartwatch 3 I bought last year is.

Smartwatch 3 screen on

My Android Wear watch, for example, includes both GPS and Wi-Fi radios but the software only works with the former; Wi-Fi support isn’t yet included with Android Wear. I anticipate it will be at or before this May’s [company]Google[/company] I/O event. That would let you untether the watch from a phone; data could be sent over a local Wi-Fi network.

Broadcom is clearly thinking beyond Wi-Fi in Android Wear, however.

Adding a 2G/3G radio would make such a device work without a phone, even outside the range of a Wi-Fi network. It would also challenge battery life, which is already a downer for many who are considering an Android Wear smartwatch. I can eke out two days of run time on my Smartwatch 3, for example, but often charge it nightly, just as most Android Wear owners do. The addition of wireless charging support adds convenience but does nothing to improve battery life, of course.

The new Broadcom platform for Android Wear is available to hardware makers to sample, and the company will be showing off its platform focused on smartwatches at next week’s Mobile World Congress.