In a groundbreaking announcement, Qualcomm, a leading chip designer, revealed its strategic partnership with tech giant Google to develop wearable devices, such as smartwatches, employing chips based on RISC-V technology. This collaboration represents a significant shift in the wearable technology landscape and is expected to have far-reaching implications for the industry.
“Qualcomm Technologies has been a pillar of the Wear OS ecosystem, providing high-performance, low-power systems for many of our OEM partners,” said Bjorn Kilburn, general manager of Wear OS at Google. “We are excited to extend our work with Qualcomm Technologies and bring a RISC-V wearable solution to market.”
Due to its versatility and flexibility, RISC-V, an open-source instruction set architecture (ISA), has seen significant growth in recent years. It can be customized, which makes it the perfect option for manufacturers looking to make wearable technology that is cutting-edge and effective. Qualcomm hopes to use its partnership with Google to develop wearables that take advantage of RISC-V’s advantages.
According to Qualcomm, the new solution will reduce the time to market for original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) when launching smartwatches, and the companies will continue to invest in Snapdragon Wear platforms for the Wear OS ecosystem.
“We are excited to leverage RISC-V and expand our Snapdragon Wear platform as a leading silicon provider for Wear OS,” – Dino Bekis, vice president and general manager of Wearables and Mixed Signal Solutions at Qualcomm.
“Our Snapdragon Wear platform innovations will help the Wear OS ecosystem rapidly evolve and streamline new device launches.”
RISC-V Ecosystem Boost
At the end of May this year, Google and Qualcomm were among the impressive list of founders of a project intended to create a commercial-grade software ecosystem for RISC-V application processors, including development tools and libraries, virtualization support, language run-times, Linux distribution integration, and system firmware.
Along with Andes, Intel, Imagination Technologies, MediaTek, Nvidia, Red Hat, Rivos, Samsung, SiFive, T-Head, and Ventana, the RISC-V Software Ecosystem Project was founded. The Linux Foundation Europe, which would host it, stated that they will work upstream first with existing open-source communities in accordance with open-source best practices.
“As a global community, we have made tremendous progress in RISC-V adoption,” said RISC-V International CEO Calista Redmond. “We are grateful to the thousands of engineers making upstream contributions and to the organizations coming together now to invest in tools and libraries in support of the RISC-V software ecosystem. Accelerating adoption is our shared mission. The collective investment of our community and in the Rise Project will build on that momentum.”
RISC-V Automotive ICs
To develop a German firm that will serve as a single source to enable compatible RISC-V-based products, provide reference architectures, and aid in the establishment of solutions widely used in the industry, Qualcomm joined another outstanding consortium in August. The first application focus will be on the automotive industry, but mobile and IoT will eventually be added as well.
“We are proud to support the establishment of trusted RISC-V-based automotive products with this initiative. The knowledge and expertise of leading market players will unleash the full potential of RISC-V in the automotive sector.”