Menu
Newton is the first MIPS-based mini-computer for wearables

Newton is the first MIPS-based mini-computer for wearables

The Newton development kit is the first with a MIPS CPU

Ingenic's SD card-sized wearable computer with MIPS CPU

Ingenic's SD card-sized wearable computer with MIPS CPU

A Chinese company has released a computer about the size of an SD card that can run a full version of Android and should make it easier to build wearable devices.

Called the Newton, the computer was developed by China's Ingenic Semiconductor and is the first development kit for wearables with a MIPS-based CPU. It's an integrated board, like a smaller version of the Raspberry Pi, aimed at those who want to build and prototype wearable devices.

Such hardware development kits are becoming popular, and Intel has also released a miniature computer for wearables, called Edison. Newton can include a CPU, Flash, Wi-Fi, NFC and various sensors on a single board about the same length as two U.S. quarters, or two euro coins.

The Newton appears to be available now, though it wasn't clear from the company's website how much it costs or where it can be ordered.

Ingenic's chips aren't new to wearables market -- they're already used in inexpensive smartwatches, said Alexandru Voica, a spokesman for Imagination Technologies, which develops the MIPS architecture. An Ingenic MIPS chip was also used in US$99 Android tablets that hit the market a few years ago.

Intel's Edison was originally the size of an SD card but it has been made a bit bigger to incorporate more sensors.

Along with wearables, the development kits from Intel are also designed for use in sensor equipment and data-gathering instruments. There are trade-offs with the small size, which limits what the boards can be used for. Freescale has a larger board for building prototypes, called Warp, that includes wireless charging and supports a wider array of sensors.

The Newton board isn't yet compatible with Android Wear, but that may happen eventually.

"Android Wear is still in development so we can't claim full compatibility yet," Imagination's Voica said. "We are, however, the only CPU IP supplier on the list of Google ecosystem partners, so the MIPS architecture is fully covered."

Intel also plans to make chips compatible with Android Wear, but unlike Imagination Intel doesn't widely license its core CPU designs, meaning chip makers like Ingenic can't make x86 processors.

Low power consumption is key to the long battery life wearables need to provide. Newton consumes 4 milliwatts in standby mode and consumes 100 miliwatts during MP3 playback, Imagination said in a blog entry about the board Tuesday.

"This means that Ingenic-powered smartwatches can last for 30+ hours on a single charge," Imagination said.

The Newton's MIPS CPU operates at 1GHz and the graphics core can play 720p graphics at 30 frames per second. Other features include 256KB of L2 cache, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth attachments, and UART, USB and GPIO connectors. And the board can support up to 3GB of memory.

Agam Shah covers PCs, tablets, servers, chips and semiconductors for IDG News Service. Follow Agam on Twitter at @agamsh. Agam's e-mail address is agam_shah@idg.com


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags processorshardware systemsconsumer electronicsComponentsImagination Technologies

Brand Post

What to expect from your IT Distributor

Whether you’re just starting out or you’ve been around since before the dot com rollercoaster, choosing the right distribution partner can be a pivotal factor in your success. This definitive guide outlines the traits that every IT partner needs to look for in their IT Distributor.

Featured

Slideshows

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners

More than 500 channel leaders gathered in Auckland on 21 October at the ​Reseller News Innovation Awards ​2020 to celebrate the achievements of the New Zealand technology industry's top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Channel gathers to celebrate the Reseller News Innovation Awards 2020 winners
Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards

Reseller News honoured the standout players of the New Zealand channel in front of more than 500 technology leaders in Auckland on 21 October, recognising the achievements of top partners, start-ups, vendors, distributors and individuals.

Meet the winners of the 2020 Reseller News Innovation Awards
Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners

This year’s Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards were held as an integral part of the first entirely virtual Emerging Leaders​ forum, an annual event dedicated to identifying, educating and showcasing the New Zealand technology market’s rising stars. The 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 recognised the outstanding achievements and business excellence of 30 talented individuals​, across both young leaders and those just starting out. In this slideshow, Reseller News honours this year's winners and captures their thoughts about how their ideas of leadership have changed over time.​

Meet the Reseller News 30 Under 30 Tech Awards 2020 winners
Show Comments