SAN FRANCISCO— Samsung Electronics Co.
unveiled a set of technologies to spur more companies to add computing power to everyday devices such as fitness trackers, light bulbs, security cameras and drones.
The effort, called Artik, centers on tiny circuit boards that come packed with new processors, communication chips, sensors and other components. Samsung is also offering software and related services to help configure new devices and connect them to the Internet.
One of three initial Artik boards, about the size of a ladybug, has a Samsung chip with two processors, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and other features. The board, intended for applications like smartwatches, would sell for less than $10, said Young Sohn, Samsung’s president and chief strategy officer.
The largest board, about the size of two postage stamps side by side, includes essentially all the features of a Samsung smartphone, including an eight-processor chip, 32 gigabytes of data storage and video capabilities. It will sell for less than $100, Mr. Sohn said, and is suited for applications such as home hub devices to store video and other consumer data.
Mr. Sohn said the effort is designed to help other companies move faster in jumping on the trend Silicon Valley calls the Internet of Things. But Samsung said it is also intended to enhance the company’s own products, including televisions, home appliances and smartphones.
Until now, Mr. Sohn said, each Samsung product division typically chose its own chips and software to add features like computing and communications. Now they will standardize on Artik technology in hope of getting new and updated products to market faster.
“We have lots of stuff to connect,” said Yoon Lee, vice president of Samsung’s smart home and digital appliances business.
Samsung, besides manufacturing TVs and smartphones, is the largest maker of memory chips and makes processors used in some of its smartphones. The company had signaled interest in the Internet of Things by its purchase last year of SmartThings, a U.S. startup that developed a variety of connected devices along with an online service to help the devices communicate.
SmartThings, which Samsung operates as an independent subsidiary based in Silicon Valley, is a key part of the Korean company’s strategy to create a neutral platform for the Internet of Things. Its cloud-style service is designed to help interconnect devices from many other companies, including Samsung competitors that prefer other chips or software.
Alex Hawkinson, who was CEO of SmartThings and continues to run the unit, said the evenhanded policies extend to requiring Samsung developers and those at other companies to use the same software tools. “It runs very deep, philosophically,” he said.
But Samsung will face plenty of competition. Intel Corp. has announced a variety of new chips and small circuit boards for use in wearables and other emerging device types. Qualcomm Inc., the biggest maker of chips for smartphones, also has targeted the field and is hosting its own event in San Francisco Thursday.
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