Qualcomm has ambitions for the Internet of Things beyond just wiring up your fridge to the web, launching a set of chipsets that will not only provide connectivity but app support to appliances. The two new embeddable boards target everything from coffee pots and rice cookers through toasters, fridges, and washer-dryers, not to mention integrating the IoT – or the “Internet of Everything” as Qualcomm prefers to describe it – with home hubs and routers. Meanwhile, there are moves to smooth the IoT setup experience, too.
For the more basic appliances, there’s the Qualcomm Atheros QCA401x. It pairs a microcontroller with WiFi 1x1n, a broad range of I/O options for a variety of sensors and displays, AllJoyn for easier connectivity, and – perhaps most interestingly – a small amount of storage for local apps.
It’s only 800KB, but that’s enough for a basic set of applications depending on the demands of the manufacturer, along with the real-time OS. So, if your coffee pot needs smartphone-connected scheduling, that app could run on the Qualcomm chip rather than demanding a completely separate processor. A washing machine’s physical controls could be replaced with a touchscreen driven by the QCA401x, meanwhile, running programs loaded into the chip’s storage.