MediaTek is best known for its relatively affordable system-on-chip solutions. Its chips power not only smartphones by less popular brands like Alcatel, Zopo, and the likes, but also models from well-known manufacturers, such as Sony and HTC. The inexpensive Sony Xperia C
and the HTC Desire 310
, for example, both use a MediaTek SoC.
Aster, however, which is an SoC solution that the company announced earlier this year, is not built for smartphones. Instead, MediaTek has optimized this little piece of silicon for use in wearable electronic devices, such as those oh-so-trendy smartwatches. It measures just 5.4
by 6 millimeters and includes an MCU, Bluetooth, touchscreen controller, memory chips, and input/output interfaces.
According to industry insiders, mass production of the Aster chip is to begin in Q3 of 2014. Furthermore, Aster will be offered as a complete platform featuring chips, software, firmware, and reference designs, which could give MediaTek's offering a competitive edge
in an increasingly crowded segment of wearable tech. This could also pave the way for cheaper smartwatches to emerge.
Industry sources state that MediaTek is already in talks with customers from China interested in its Aster platform. If all goes as planned, wearable gadgets powered by it may launch by the end of 2014.