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Meet the 'smallest GPU' for wearable gizmos ... wait, where did it go?

Nobody move, this Imagination chip was here somewhere. Where's the magnifying glass?

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The official launch of Android Wear was less than a month ago, but Imagination Technologies has this week unveiled a tiny graphics processor that it reckons will be just the thing for your snazzy new smartwatch.

The single-core PowerVR GX5300 GPU is just 0.55mm2 – apparently the "world's smallest" – and squeezes in full OpenGL ES 2.0 support. It manages all this with what Imagination describes as ultra-low power consumption, but it won’t say exactly how much power the chip will sip as that's protected by NDA. However, we're told it'll run at 250MHz in 28nm.

PowerVR 5300 GPU

GX5300 block diagram ... Size isn't everything it seems (click to enlarge)

"This is a GPU mainly to be used inside wearables and Internet of Things," Imagination's technology specialist Alexandru Voica told The Register.

"Our customers can pair it with an entry-level MIPS CPU (a single-core M5100/M5150 or a dual-core interAptiv), PowerVR video and vision and Ensigma connectivity to build a chipset that would be a very good contender for Android Wear-based or other wearable devices."

The GPU uses programmable "shader-based tile based deferred rendering," and should be able to handle 480p and 720p displays, provided the graphics load isn't too heavy. This makes it good for smart watches and embedded systems that will be part of the much-hyped internet of stuff.

For developers there's a free PowerVR Graphics SDK available for download from Imagination. Manufacturers can license the chip design from the British biz for an undisclosed fee and a cut of any system-on-a-chip units sold. ®

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