Most smart watches and similar wearables use re-purposed phone processors like the Snapdragon 400. MediaTek is trying to offer a more focused alternative with the just-announced MT2523. It's a complete system-in-package (SiP) for wearables with GPS, dual-mode Bluetooth LE, support for high-resolution screens, and a highly efficient Cortex M4 CPU.

Efficiency is the name of the game for the MT2523. The PCB area is 41% smaller than similar designs and MediaTek estimates wearables powered by the chip will last more than a week on a charge. The built-in GPS will make this chip great for fitness-oriented devices in particular. However, fitness trackers might end up being the main market for the MT2523.

Smart watches running Android Wear have mostly been based on the Cortex-A7 CPU core, which is much more powerful than the M4 in the MT2523. Unless something changes in Wear, this chip will probably power more modest smart watches and other wearables. MediaTek says the MT2523 will be ready for device makers in the first half of 2016, so expect to see it pop up in products later this year.