Silicon Labs has leveraged its recent acquisition of Bluegiga in developing a complete Bluetooth Smart solutions portfolio to help developers minimise the energy consumption, cost and complexity of wireless IoT designs. The new Blue Gecko solutions include ultra-low-power wireless system-on-chips (SoC), embedded modules, and Bluegiga’s software development kit (SDK) and Bluetooth Smart software stack.
This portfolio addresses the largest, fastest growing low-power wireless connectivity opportunity in the IoT market. According to IHS Technology, Bluetooth Smart will represent 42% of the total low-power wireless module and chipset market (by unit volume) in 2018.
Blue Gecko offers designers the flexibility to begin development with modules and transition to SoCs when needed, with little to no system redesign. The first SoCs in the lineup combine Silicon Labs’ energy-friendly EFM32 Gecko microcontroller (MCU) technology with an ultra-low-power Bluetooth Smart transceiver.
These chips can transmit +10 dBm or higher output power thanks to their fully integrated power amplifier and balun, and are based on the ARM Cortex-M3 and M4 cores with 128 to 256 KB Flash sizes and 16 to 32 KB RAM. They 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. They include the Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart software stack and profile toolkit, and come with 256 KB Flash and 32 KB RAM, providing ample available memory for onboard applications.
Flexible hardware interfaces enable easy connection to a variety of peripherals and sensors, and an integrated antenna makes RF operation consistent and straightforward for the design engineer. These 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.
To simplify wireless development, 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 comprehensive wireless SDK for developing Bluetooth Smart applications, either using 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. Bluetooth Smart application profiles and examples are also available to help streamline development.
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