Wearable Tech World Feature Article
November 13, 2014

Wearable Displays May Soon Look Better With Imagination Series7 GPUs

Much thought has been given to how wearable devices look; that's simply part of the package when it comes to talking about wearable devices. Half the point of a wearable is that it's able to be worn, and few will wear an ugly piece of technology even if it offers some impressive features. But one point of a wearable device's looks hasn't exactly been on the same level of attention as the others: the graphics involved in wearable devices' displays. That's a point that may be about to get some substantial augmentation thanks to Imagination and its line of Series7 graphics processing units (GPUs).

The new line was announced only recently, and is made up of the PowerVR Series 7XE and Series 7XT processors. The processors are said to be extremely power-efficient, making such good not only for wearable devices—where power is at a premium owing to the designs of the devices—but also for other mobile devices. The Series7 line is also said to be sufficiently powerful to make the devices viable in gaming devices, PCs and servers as well, making the chips highly versatile. The new chips represent substantial boosts in power over Imagination's earlier Series6 lineup, offering between 35 and 61 percent greater speed in processing, along with better data throughput and improved graphics overall. Since the XT line is capable of rendering 4K video, according to reports, it's got a note of future-proofing thrown in as well as more video starts to move in 4K's general direction.

PowerVR graphics have actually already been seen, according to reports, in mobile devices like the highly popular iPhone and iPad lines, and Imagination has every intention to continue in that line of business. But reports suggest Imagination has seen a concept that others before the company have seen already; that wearable devices may well become a substantial growth sector fairly soon, and thus, Imagination is eager to get in on the action while the field is still young.

Most devices, however, don't require a whole lot in the way of graphic augmentation. Basic devices like smartwatches and fitness trackers generally don't need so much graphic augmentation because such devices don't have displays large enough to make much of a difference. But Imagination is looking at devices that are used as wearable displays, bringing improved graphics capability to devices that offer things like augmented reality systems or object recognition mechanisms.

Basically, it looks like Imagination is out to cover all the bases, and there's plenty to be said for a company that can make a product that's so versatile it can step into a variety of roles with equal skill. This is a processor line that can comfortably step into smart televisions, gaming consoles, and a pair of augmented reality glasses, and that's a pretty broad field of use cases. Whether the makers of these various devices will be interested in going with a company that makes processors for so many different devices as opposed to specialist solutions remains to be seen, but it's certainly a possibility, and major firms like Samsung—who make many of the aforementioned devices—might well be interested in a one-stop-shopping solution for graphics processors.

Only time will tell just how well Imagination's plan works, but it's a plan that's got as much logic as it does audacity on hand. We might well be seeing Series7 chips in many more devices coming soon.

Edited by Maurice Nagle

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