Leading mobile chip supplier Qualcomm recently unveiled its own Wearables Ecosystem Accelerator Program, designed to “accelerate the adoption of wearables and reduce development time through building collaborative relationships across the wearables value chain.” Qualcomm has signed nearly 50 brands so far, including Fossil, Timex, ZTE, Louis Vuitton, Oppo, Verizon, Montblanc, and others.
Participating companies will share information with the goal of solving problems in the business – like slow production times and the high cost of adopting new technologies. Of course, Qualcomm is also hoping to gain a bigger share of the wearables pie by leading this charge. Apple dominates the sector with its Apple Watch, but over the last five years Qualcomm has managed to sell 40 million wearables using its Snapdragon chipset and Google’s Wear OS software (by comparison, Apple shipped almost 34 million Apple Watches in 2020 alone).
Qualcomm believes there’s an opportunity to cater not just to the young and active adults who typically purchase smartwatches and fitness trackers, but to design wearables for kids, seniors, and even pets. The chipmaker is currently working on a new SoC for high performance, and a co-processor for always-on use cases that doesn’t utilize as much power in order to promote longer battery life – many smartwatches only last a day or two before needing to be recharged, which could pose a problem for kids, seniors, or pets.
According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, there’s a clear opportunity for Qualcomm to expand the wearables audience, as wearable device owners do tend to have kids and pets in their households more than non-owners. With 77% of wearable device owners having pets and 45% having kids, the chances that these consumers might consider a wearable for their kids, pets, or an aging parent are significant.