Android Wear devices could get more capabilities and longer battery life thanks to a new chip design from ARM called the Cortex-A32.
Most Android Wear smartwatches run on ARM processors, and they're also used in smartphones and tablets. ARM designs the chips, which are licensed and manufactured by companies like Samsung and Qualcomm.
The Cortex-A32 will provide a rich user experience for wearables and other portable devices, said Chris Turner, director of advanced technology marketing at ARM.
The chip is 13 percent smaller and 10 percent more power-efficient than the existing Cortex-A35, announced in November. Wearables will deliver the same performance and consume less battery, or squeeze new features into the same power envelope.
The first devices based the chip could come out late this year or early next. It will run Android Wear as well as other operating systems.
Another target area for the chip is IoT. It can be used in smart home appliances, fabrics, sports equipment, surveillance cameras and other devices. The chip supports IOT operating systems including Microsoft's Windows IoT Core and Google's Brillo.
Small robots and drones can also be equipped with the chip, which has security, visual processing and other capabilities.
Another target could be single-board computers in the vein of the Raspberry Pi 2. The Cortex-A32 has an instruction set for 32-bit applications, since most wearables and IoT devices don't need 64-bit software.