Understanding your wearable device's graphics memory needs

November 24, 2015

reubenbenjamin-November 24, 2015

High definition media consumption is undergoing a two-fold growth – one is an increase in number of consumers and the other is a transition towards even higher definition content. This is driven by more widespread and faster Internet access combined with an explosion of mobile devices (cell phones, tablets, wearable devices, etc). As a consequence, many wearable devices are now coming equipped to handle HD media consumption.

The demand for Internet of Things (IoT) and wearable devices is estimated to grow three-fold by 2020, even by the most conservative estimates. This means there will be 50 billion devices. This will create demand for a new family of display drivers and frame buffers – a memory option that is unlike those used in legacy displays. While embedded RAMs could suffice in early generation wearable devices, today’s high definition and large wearable displays require significantly larger frame buffer memories. These requirements differ from the traditional large displays of PCs and televisions by virtue of being battery operated and built with power efficiency as a primary design constraint. A majority of the latest wearable devices will be so space- and power-efficient that they will need to be able to run days and possibly even weeks on a single charge, all the while performing complex operations. This is why we will require a new family of display drivers.

To understand frame buffer requirements for wearable devices, let us first explore the architecture of graphics systems. Every graphics system consists of 3 components – hardware, graphics library, and an application that utilizes it. 

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