“Shine 2 would not be what it is without this processor.” So said Steve Diamond, VP of Hardware Engineering at leading wearables-inventor Misfit, when talking last month about our Apollo ultra-low power MCU.

High praise indeed. But Steve’s back-up statement is probably even more significant. “It

[Apollo] allowed us to focus less on power optimization and more on building a next-generation product with the same great battery life,” he added.

And this is where the wearables industry stands today. Misfit’s Shine 2 Fitness and Sleep Monitor retains the market-leading six-month battery life of the original Shine product (and this using only a standard watch battery): but it’s now even more feature-packed.

Wearables-makers have now done the technical hard yards of learning how to design for low power. The semiconductor industry has helped by responding to their needs, focusing its efforts on producing chips with ever-lower energy requirements. The Apollo MCU represents a quantum leap forward in that regard, using Ambiq’s Subthreshold Power Optimized Technology (SPOT), to achieve power consumption an order of magnitude better than previous generations of microcontrollers.

In short, the power consumption problem is now solved – in the wearables market, it’s all about features.

Announced in October to catch the end-of-year demand for consumer products, Shine 2’s feature set is certainly both impressive and innovative. The product is thinner and wider than its forerunner, and includes a 3-axis magnetometer in addition to a 3-axis accelerometer, to track activity and sleep more accurately.

In addition to the “under the hood” improvements, there are some very noticeable changes on the user experience side. Shine 2 now incorporates an ultra-responsive touch interface, via the use of capacitive sensing technology. Its 12 lights can display over 16 million colors and are bright enough to be seen in direct sunlight, allowing the product to display progress and tell time in a halo of rainbow-colored lights. Shine 2 also features Misfit Move, a feature that will give you a vibrational nudge if you’re inactive for a while; and offers text and call notifications and a silent vibration alarm.

Faster syncing and extended Bluetooth range complete the package.

No consumer product today would be complete without some form of smartphone integration, and Shine 2 is no exception. Misfit’s Link app lets you assign tasks such as triggering the smartphone camera and controlling your music via the Shine 2 interface.

Shine 2 is a great example of just what is possible in the wearables market using advanced technologies such as Ambiq’s SPOT. As the market continues to develop, we can look forward to ever more feature-rich products, greater ease-of-use and more innovation – which can only be good news for consumers and the industry alike.