Today, when you think of Samsung, you likely imagine your Samsung remote control, or perhaps even the Samsung replacement remotes you need to buy after losing your original. However, the company itself has bigger plans for the future: on May 12, Samsung announced a new project called Artik, a collection of small system-on-chips designed to power everything from wearable devices to appliances. As a result, many industry experts believe that Samsung is striving to become the next big name in wearable technology. Could your next Samsung remote control be a gadget like the Apple Watch? Read on to find out.
Today, the Artik is classified into three different sizes, called the Artik 1, 5 and 10. The smallest of these measures at only 12 mm by 12mm and can reportedly run off a coin cell battery for several weeks. Despite its small size, this system-on-chip features Bluetooth LE, an accelerometer, a 9-axis motion sensor, a gyroscope, a magnetometer, and costs less than $10. Samsung says companies could use it for Bluetooth tags, location beacons an wearables. Meanwhile, the larger Artik 5 is slightly larger than a quarter and is more like a small computer: it adds WiFi, ZigBee wireless, and on-board 720p video decoding to the list of features, and could be used as an on-board chip for a drone. Finally, the Artik 10, which is the most computer-like of the three, adds more storage, 1080p video decoding and a 1.3GHz Octa Core processor. While it is the most expensive at about $100, Samsung says it would be useful for media hubs, home servers, and personal cloud storage devices.
Samsung says that the technology in Artik is the same that they use in their smartphones, and the collection is offering developers a chance to build on top of it, either using the company’s own operating systems and drivers, called Tizen, or an individual system. It might seem like a strange choice for a company that is best known for its smartphones and Samsung TV remotes, but this all seems to be part of the organization’s plan: back in January, the company announced that it planned to connect 90% of its products to the Artik system by 2017, with 100% of its products under the program in the next five years. However, this system is also open to others, a factor that could set Artik up to become a huge presence in the wearable technology industry.
This shift could already be occurring: some developers reported that they have been using Artik for months, although many others were only able to access it on May 12. So far, at least one user claims to have shrunken one of the latest systems down from the size of a GoPro into a gumball-sized sensor. But Samsung isn’t the only company trying to infiltrate the wearable technology industry: in 2013, Intel introduced Quark, a tiny chip designed to power wearables and other items, eventually following up with a platform for device makers that featured built-in security and data analytics. Apple and Google have also built platforms to facilitate communication between different devices, including smartphones. Will your next Samsung replacement remotes take the form of wearable gadgets and accessories, or will all remotes from the company look the same as ever? Only time will tell. Until then, you can purchase Samsung replacement remotes and other devices through traditional retailers, but don’t be surprised if the company start aggressively marketing its new Artik-connected products.