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What Do Dick Tracy and Asian Telecom Customers Have in Common?

Way back in 1946, comic strip author Chester Gould introduced the concept of a two-way wrist radio which enabled his detective character Dick Tracy to easily communicate with other members of the police force. At that time, the battery and electronic technology available wasn’t even close to being small and efficient enough to make such a device a reality.

Now here we are in 2016. Smartwatches, while not yet common, are widely available across the developed world and are far more capable than the relatively simple devices first envisioned by Mr. Gould. The newest versions can support phone calls and text messages, respond to voice or gesture commands, and pretty accurately measure user activity levels and other parameters.

At QuickLogic, one of the trends we’ve noticed is that some sophisticated smartwatches are finally being designed to be economical enough to be used by a large customer base. Interestingly, some of these OEMs and ODMs are partnering with local telecom companies who then bundle the watches as part of a pre-packaged product offering to their respective customer bases, much like discounted smartphones have been bundled with service plans here in the U.S. One example (of many) was the InFocus W201 Smartwatch from Foxconn International Holding (FIH) which we announced in a press release issued on April 19th.

This approach leverages the broad reach of the telecom companies and gives them a way to differentiate themselves from one another. It also enables a large number of devices to get into the hands (or rather onto the wrists) of a large number of consumers who now have a quick and easy way to communicate with their friends and family without having to hold or dial a telephone. Just like Dick Tracy, but better because the devices are more fully featured and more broadly available. And it only took us 70 years.

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