CSR Plc. is readying the fourth generation of its Bluetooth silicon, which is based on the new Enhanced Data Rate specification, approved by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group last week in Amsterdam, Netherlands.
Bluetooth EDR offers a maximum local wireless data transfer rate of 2.1M bps, compared with the maximum of 721K bps offered by Bluetooth Version 1.2, the latest version of the Bluetooth standard. With EDR, a Bluetooth data transfer that took 12 seconds now takes 4, CSR officials said.
This throughput increase will improve functions such as exchanging images between Bluetooth phones and provides speeds suitable for laser printing, officials said.
The higher throughput rate may also help the cause of the one-phone concept, wherein a customer has a single phone that uses cellular networks outdoors and a Bluetooth connection indoors, officials said.
British Telecom Group plc. is developing such a phone, CSR officials said. Similar industry efforts are under way for devices that support cellular networks and 802.11 Wi-Fi radios instead, but CSR officials said they believe Bluetooth is a better option.
“Wi-Fi does not have a quality of service designed for voice, and Bluetooth does,” said Eric Jansen, device president of CSR North America, in Richardson, Texas.
Even for functions that dont require extra bandwidth, a transmitter based on EDR will have to expend less energy than a standard Bluetooth Version 1.2 radio, meaning it will save battery life for Bluetooth devices, CSR officials said.
“Anything I can do to save battery life is good in my book,” said Byron Seese, a senior graphics designer at Animation Technologies Inc., in Boston. “Nothing ruins my day like a dead battery.”
CSR BlueCore4 is backward-compatible with Bluetooth versions 1.1 and 1.2 devices, officials said.
BlueCore4 includes 48KB of on-board RAM as opposed to the 32KB on CSRs previous silicon. The additional memory is required to handle EDR, officials said. It will come in two options, one for use with external flash memory and one for use with Mask-ROM.
BlueCore4-External is sampling now, with full production planned for September. BlueCore4-ROM will sample next quarter, with mass production due by years end.