Broadcom CEO: We will have 'significant number' of wins in wearable computing market
Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor is banking on the idea that there will be a wide array of companies interested in creating wearable computing devices, and that Broadcom will be able to sell its wireless chips into that new category.
In an interview with AllThingsD, McGregor said he did not think the wearables market would come to be dominated by one or two players, as Samsung Electronics and Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) have largely done in smartphones over the past several years.
"There are like two companies that make half of all the smartphones on the planet," McGregor said. "I think wearables are going to be different." The Broadcom chief noted that wearables could easily evolve into a market in which niche needs and use cases are supported, and that the aesthetics of the devices will matter more than in smartphones. "There aren't two manufacturers that make all the jewelry on the planet," McGregor said.
If McGregor is peddling a vision of the future in which a plethora of OEMs design wearable computing, that's because it fits with Broadcom's business model. On Tuesday, the company announced that it is adding Wi-Fi Direct to its WICED (Wireless Internet Connectivity for Embedded Devices) platform, hoping to spur adoption of wearable wireless sensors. Broadcom boasts that WICED lets OEMs embed low-power, high-performance, interoperable wireless connectivity into devices. The company said the addition of Wi-Fi Direct technology, which allows two devices to communicate with each other securely via Wi-Fi without an access point or computer, will let OEMs more easily develop wearable wireless devices.
McGregor hopes Broadcom can set itself apart from the likes of Qualcomm (NASDAQ:QCOM) and Nvidia in wearables by harnessing its prowess in Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and other connectivity protocols. "We do expect that a significant number of wearables coming out are going to have Broadcom silicon in them," he said.
Intel too is hoping for success in the area. "I think you'll start to see stuff with our silicon toward the end of the year and the beginning of next year," Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said of wearable computing devices in late June, according to Reuters. "We're trying to get our silicon into some of them, create some ourselves, understand the usage and create an ecosystem."
Samsung and Apple are two companies that are hotly rumored to be developing smart watches--indeed, a top Samsung executive seemed to confirm earlier this week that Samsung will announce one on Sept. 4. And Juniper Research predicts that app-enabled smart watch shipments will reach 36 million per year by 2018, compared to just over 1 million this year.