One point we’ve constantly made about our new Sensor Hub line is that we consume significantly less power than competing solutions — in fact, we are 1/30 the power of existing microcontrollers. However, a lot of people have asked, and likely will ask: how big of a deal is low power? We think its a huge deal…
Our newest CSSP product family, the ArcticLink 3 S1 ultra-low power sensor hub is designed for smartphones. Obviously, when dealing with any battery-powered device, low power consumption is important. Further, with battery life of smartphones being one of the top user complaints (Google “smartphone battery life complaints” for a small taste of this), components manufacturers like QuickLogic cannot offer new solutions to the market that have higher power consumption versus competitors. Additionally, all of the knowledge we’ve gained from our VEE/DPO technologies further demonstrates that battery life is absolutely key to user experience and product acceptance.
However, there is a facet to the Sensor Hub product line that arguably is the most important driver of the need for the lowest power consumption, and that’s “Always-on Context Awareness“.
Many smartphones today contain 9DOF sensors; however, those sensors are generally only powered on when the phone is being actively used, and further many are actually only powered on when certain applications (e.g. fitness, gaming) are enabled. This is specifically due to the high power consumption of existing sensor subsystems. However, smartphone OEMs, application developers, operating system providers, and even carriers want the sensor subsystems to be enabled all the time. They desire a situation where the phone is aware of its surroundings and the users activities even if the phone is sitting on a desk, or being carried in a users pocket, etc… Doing so enables a wealth of application, user experience, crowdsourcing, and advertising options simply not achievable without always-on awareness. (I will address some of these in a future blog)
QuickLogic’s ability to reduce sensor subsystem power consumption to 300µW of power drops the total power consumption to less than 2% of the total system power. OEMs have repeated stated to us that below this level, always-on context awareness is not only palatable, but ideal. This supports our belief that our ultra-low power sensor hub technology is not only worthy of the nomenclature “Ultra-Low”, but ideally suited for always-on context aware sensor hub applications and deployment in smartphones, wearables, and other like devices