Bluetooth low energy proximity key fob is first in world to be compatible with both Apple and Samsung smartphones

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By eeNews Europe

The SoC features built-in Personal User Interface Device (PUID) profiles.

Called the ‘Pebble’, the key fob offers two functions that build on the two profiles defined in the latest Bluetooth v4.0 Specification applicable to proximity-based property location and security. The Proximity profile ensure that when the key fob moves out of range of the smartphone or tablet computer the user is alerted by an audible alarm eliminating the risk of leaving valuable devices behind. Alternatively, the user is warned by the key fob if an unauthorized person moves the valuable portable device out of range. The Find Me profile enables a misplaced key fob to be located by triggering an alarm from a dedicated application (‘app’) on the portable device. This is useful if the key fob is attached to a set of keys or other valuable possession.

Pebble features an ultra slim design measuring 60 by 30 by 11 mm and weighing in at less than 12g. Powered by a regular 3 V CR2025 lithium coin cell, the nRF8002’s class-leading ultra low power consumption extends battery life to over a year under typical (daily) usage conditions. The device’s range is typically around 10 meters but can extend up to 20 meters.

Bluetooth low energy is a hallmark feature of the latest Bluetooth v4.0 specification and if certain qualification requirements are met the technology can be used to develop Bluetooth Smart devices (such as wireless sensors, peripherals, and accessories) that are compatible with any Bluetooth Smart Ready hub product (for example, a smartphone or tablet computer). The Pebble carries the Bluetooth Smart brand mark.

"The Pebble is the first key fob proximity device in the world to be compatible with Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S3 and R style smartphones – flagship products from the two leading smartphone makers in the world – as well as the Apple iPad," said Simon Lee, Semilink’s CEO.

"We selected Bluetooth low energy for the Pebble’s wireless communication because it guarantees interoperability with existing and future products that incorporate Bluetooth v4.0 technology. Leading smartphone makers Apple and Samsung are among those that have already enthusiastically adopted the technology and many leading consumer electronics manufacturers are set to follow."

"Bluetooth low energy’s modest power consumption allowed Semilink to use a small form-factor coin cell battery and produce a lightweight and slim key fob that’s convenient to carry. Nonetheless, it was important for us to maximize the coin cell’s life, and Nordic’s nRF8002 is the ‘lowest energy’ Bluetooth low energy wireless solution available. Consumers can expect around of year of use from the key fob under typical operating conditions”.

"We are already working on a second nRF8002-based proximity alarm-product that will be even smaller and is designed to slip into a wallet," added Lee.


Pebble is currently sampling and will be commercially available in Q4 of 2012.

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