STMicroelectronics Boosts ‘Appcessory’ Boom with Industry’s Most Energy-Efficient Single-Chip Bluetooth 4.0 Network Processor

P3452D -- BlueNRG_IMAGESTMicroelectronics (NYSE: STM), a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has unveiled the industry’s most energy-efficient Bluetooth® 4.0 Low-Energy Single-Mode chip enabling longer runtimes and smaller, lighter batteries in a wide range of wireless “appcessories” such as fitness wristbands, smart eyewear, or interactive clothes.

ST’s BlueNRG network processor provides the functions needed to link the Bluetooth® Smart device to a Bluetooth® Smart Ready host such as a smartphone or a tablet. Best-in-class active current consumption enables ultra low-power devices to operate for months or even years from a small coin-cell battery. Compliant with the latest Bluetooth 4.0 standard, BlueNRG features its own radio, processor and Bluetooth firmware to simplify the wireless design allowing engineers to concentrate on creating innovative applications.

Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy wireless technology consumes only a fraction of the power of Classic Bluetooth and is the technology behind the new wave of Bluetooth Smart devices now entering the market. All major mobile and desktop operating systems now support Bluetooth Smart Ready operations, paving the way to an ecosystem of Bluetooth Smart devices.

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has noted dramatic year-on-year growth in Smart and Smart Ready end-product listings, such as wellness monitors, fitness equipment, wearable devices and proximity tags. ABI Research predicts a massive growth in Bluetooth-enabled appcessories from 220 million units this year to nearly 1 billion units per year by 2016.

ST is aiming to win a large share of this market leveraging the unmatched energy efficiency of its BlueNRG IC, which enables superior battery life and excellent wireless-link performance. In addition to best-in-class current consumption, with peak current of only 8.2mA in transmit mode at 0dBm and 7.3mA in receiver mode, BlueNRG also has frugal power management and transitions rapidly between operating modes thereby minimizing unproductive power.

Moreover, BlueNRG gives designers flexibility to choose their preferred host microcontroller and comes complete with Bluetooth Low-Energy profiles to run in the external application processor. The on-chip non-volatile memory enables easy firmware upgrades in the field to maintain compliance with future releases of the Bluetooth specification.

Major features of BlueNRG:

  • Embedded Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy protocol stack: GAP, GATT, SM, L2CAP, LL, RF-PHY
  • 7.3mA (RX mode), 8.2mA (TX mode at 0dBm) maximum peak current
  • Programmable output power from -18dBm to +8dBm
  • Up to 96dB RF link budget

BlueNRG is sampling now and will enter production later in 2013, in QFN32 5mm x 5mm or WCSP 2.6mm x 2.6mm packages, priced from $1.80 for orders over 1000 units.

Bluetooth® Smart and Bluetooth® Smart Ready are trademarks owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc.

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