Ultra-low-energy Bluetooth chip creates new product opportunities

Paul Boughton
CSR is launching its first single-mode, single-chip Bluetooth low-energy platform, known as the CSR uEnergy, which is said to address the needs of ultra-low-power connected devices. The CSR uEnergy platform will provide everything required to create a Bluetooth low-energy product with RF, baseband, microcontroller, qualified Bluetooth v4.0 stack and the customer application all running on a single chip. The CSR uEnergy Bluetooth low-energy platform will enable ultra-low-power connectivity for applications previously limited by the power consumption, size constraints and complexity of other wireless standards.
Anthony Murray, senior vice president of the audio and consumer business unit at CSR, comments: "The CSR uEnergy platform unlocks the potential of the Bluetooth low-energy standard and is a huge step forward in consumer wireless technology. Bluetooth low-energy technology is an alternative to the fractured market of proprietary and poorly adopted standards and can be deployed in a variety of everyday devices, changing the way that we interact with our local environment. The ultra-low power consumption of CSR's uEnergy platform enables a new range of accessories to connect to the mobile phone, TV, PC, media player or tablet, enabling consumers to experience the power of these services in the home or products that they carry. Bluetooth low-energy sensors in consumer products will enable their behaviour to be customised to the needs of the user, and tags will enable consumers to search and locate products and services around them."
Analysts predict that Bluetooth low-energy will enable new markets to be created for wireless accessories or wireless-enabled products including remote controls, health and wellbeing devices, PC-human interface devices, watches, automotive keyless entry, advertising, indoor location, smart energy appliances and proximity tagging.
Fiona Thomson of IMS Research says: "The technology will bring wireless connectivity to a whole new class of devices that have never used it before. The industry is at a key turning point with this technology right now and with the launch of the uEnergy platform of products, CSR is in a great position to drive this market forwards."
Recently the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) adopted the complete Bluetooth v4.0 specification, opening the door to commercial release of qualified Bluetooth low-energy end products and CSR was one of the first companies to qualify its products to the new standard.
The CSR uEnergy platform has been optimised to support only Bluetooth low-energy features, enabling products to be tiny, cost-effective and power-efficient. CSR's chips can run for years on a single coin cell battery, and may be used in simple sensors such as step-counting foot pods, heart rate monitors or car key fobs, as well as in more complex low-power devices such as a watch that can control and display information from a mobile phone. The platform offers single-mode chips that complement CSR's dual-mode offerings and provide a complete range of Bluetooth low-energy systems that will drive the development of this new market.
CSR's uEnergy platform, with its built-in processor, is designed for use in consumer products and requires no external processor to run customer applications. It includes four quadrature decoders to enable the use of mouse and pointing devices, three analogue inputs for direct measurement of sensor, and digital serial connectors for external sensors and displays.
The chips each have direct antenna connections, can connect directly to a 3V coin cell or a pair of AAA batteries, and come with three pulse width modulation outputs for variable power control in applications such as lighting control or vibration motors. They can run in optimised sleep modes with currents as low as 600nA and chips can 'wake' quickly in response to external input signals for applications such as remote controls. Both chips provide embedded support for keyboard scanning while 'asleep' at less than 5uA.
CSR uEnergy chips are available in two package options: the CSR1000 comes in a 32-pin 5x5x0.6mm QFN package; and the CSR1001 comes in a 56-pin 8x8x0.9mm QFN package, providing extra pins for more complex products with a larger number of digital inputs - such as keyboards, remote control products or home information displays.
Both the CSR1000 and CSR1001 can act as a master or slave using CSR's recently qualified Bluetooth v4.0 host stack, providing complete Generic Access Profile (GAP), L2CAP, Security Manager, Attribute Protocol (ATT) and Generic Attribute Profile (GATT). These devices enable customers to run their complete application on chip using the embedded 16-bit microprocessor. CSR uEnergy chips are available to lead customers now.
For more information, visit www.csr.com