Bluetooth SoCs at “ultra-low” power in Silicon Labs’ Blue Gecko identity
Silicon Labs’ recent acquisition of Bluegiga, supplier of wireless modules and software, added to ccelerates the company’s Bluetooth Smart solutions. Blue Gecko solutions include ultra-low-power wireless system-on-chip (SoC) devices, embedded modules, and Bluegiga’s software development kit (SDK) and Bluetooth Smart software stack.
Siliocn Labs comments that by the end of the decade, the use of cost-effective Bluetooth Smart chipsets and wireless SoCs is expected to outpace modules as many IoT applications reach higher volumes: the company shaped its Blue Gecko portfolio to provides flexibility to begin development with modules and transition to SoCs when needed with little to no system redesign.
The first in a family of wireless SoCs for IoT applications, Blue Gecko SoCs combine Silicon Labs “energy-friendly” EFM32 Gecko MCU technology with an ultra-low-power Bluetooth Smart transceiver. This single-die solution provides energy efficiency, the fastest wake-up times, superior RF sensitivity and no-compromise MCU features combined with the Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart software stack to help developers reduce system power, cost and time to market. Unlike other Bluetooth Smart IC alternatives, a Blue Gecko SoC can transmit +10 dBm or higher output power with its fully integrated power amplifier and balun, further reducing design complexity.
Blue Gecko SoCs are based on the ARM Cortex-M3 and M4 cores and offer 128 to 256 kB flash sizes and 16 to 32 kB RAM sizes. The SoCs integrate an array of low-energy peripherals as well as Silicon Labs’ Peripheral Reflex System (PRS) for autonomous peripheral operation. The Blue Gecko SoC family also offers a roadmap of enhanced flash and RAM memory sizes and additional package options to meet future application needs.
Bluegiga modules based on Blue Gecko SoCs are designed to help developers accelerate time-to market and reduce development costs and compliance risks by providing a pre-certified, plug-and-play RF design. Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart modules incorporate all features of Blue Gecko SoCs and are certified for use in all key markets including North America, Europe, Japan and South Korea. Bluegiga modules include the Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart software stack and profile toolkit and come with 256 kB flash and 32 kB RAM, providing available memory for onboard applications. Flexible hardware interfaces enable connection to a variety of peripherals and sensors, and an integrated antenna makes RF operation consistent and straightforward for the design engineer. Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart modules provide very low power operation, enabling wireless system designs to be powered from a standard 3 V coin cell battery or two AAA batteries.
Silicon Labs offers the complete Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart software stack for Blue Gecko modules and wireless SoCs. The stack implements the Bluetooth Smart protocol layers including the Attribute Protocol (ATT), the Generic Attribute Profile (GATT), the Generic Access Protocol (GAP), a security manager and connection management.
The Blue Gecko portfolio includes a wireless SDK for developing Bluetooth Smart applications using either a host or fully standalone applications through the easy-to-use Bluegiga BGScript scripting language. BGScript enables developers to create applications quickly without using external MCUs to run the application logic, enabling them to reduce cost, simplify their designs and get to market faster. Bluetooth Smart application profiles and examples are also available.
Samples of Bluegiga modules based on Blue Gecko SoCs are planned to be available in late Q2 2015. Samples of Blue Gecko wireless SoCs are planned to be available in early Q3 in a choice of 5 x 5 mm QFN32 and 7 x 7 mm QFN48 packages. Pricing for Blue Gecko-based Bluegiga modules begins at $4.99 (10,000). Blue Gecko SoC pricing begins at $0.99 (100,000). The Bluegiga SDK and Bluetooth Smart software stack will be available to Silicon Labs’ customers at no charge.
Silicon Labs; www.silabs.com/BlueGecko