Freescale launches $149 Android wearables platform

At CES, the company announces Warp, an open-source electronics board it hopes developers will embrace for a wide range of wearable computing projects.

Freescale's Warp is a $149 open-source hardware design it hopes developers will embrace when making wearable computing devices.
Freescale's Warp is a $149 open-source hardware design it hopes developers will embrace when making wearable computing devices. Freescale

Freescale Semiconductor, a maker of small, low-power processors, has announced an effort based on a $149, Android-powered, open-source electronics board to try to help hardware developers build its chips into wearable computing devices.

Wearable computing has become the hot thing as companies seek to claim new territory in the tech market. The starting point is fitness devices, but smart watches like the Qualcomm Toq and eyewear like Google Glass offer more general-purpose possibilities, too.

At CES 2014, Freescale announced hardware called Warp (Wearables Reference Platform) that designers can use to get started with wearable computing devices. It should ship in the second quarter

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"The highly flexible, system-level design kit supports embedded wireless charging, incorporates processors and sensors within a hybrid architecture for scalability and flexibility, and comes with open-source software," Freescale said in a statement. It's designed for several markets, including sports monitors, smart glasses, activity trackers, smart watches, and medical monitoring devices.

Warp includes the following elements: Freescale's i.MX 6SoloLite ARM Cortex-A9 processor as the core processing unit, its Xtrinsic MMA9553 pedometer, the FXOS8700 electronic compass, and a secondary ARM-based processor, Freescale's Kinetis KL16 microcontroller for handling sensor data and wireless charging. The design runs version 4.3 of Google's Android operating system.

Warp is an open-source hardware project detailed at WarpBoard.org, where the company hopes a community of users will exchange ideas and offer support. Revolution Robotics and Kynetics are involved in the hardware and software design, Freescale said.

About the author

Stephen Shankland has been a reporter at CNET since 1998 and covers browsers, Web development, digital photography and new technology. In the past he has been CNET's beat reporter for Google, Yahoo, Linux, open-source software, servers and supercomputers. He has a soft spot in his heart for standards groups and I/O interfaces.

 

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