CSR incorporates Bluetooth Specification version 1.2 into its Bluecore3 silicon and launches BlueCore3-External chip

December 9, 2003

4 Min Read

SAN JOSE, Calif. -- CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) today announced that its BlueCore3 silicon incorporates all of the new features included in Bluetooth Specification Version 1.2(v1.2) of the specification that was adopted by the Bluetooth SIG on November 5th 2003. The specification includes many enhancements over v1.1, including support for eSCO (extended Synchronous Connection Oriented), adaptive frequency hopping (AFH) and Fast Connect. BlueCore3 also includes all the optional controller features of the new standard and improves co-existence with other 2.4GHz radios making it ideal for use in a wide range of Bluetooth applications.

eSCO channels are error checking voice channels that allow the retransmission of corrupted voice data. As data rates can be negotiated via eSCO, the overall high quality-of-service connection is improved. With eSCO in place in BlueCore3, the detection and re-transmission of lost or destroyed voice packets allows minimum impact on real-time performance, thus making it particularly suitable for high quality voice transmission.

Over the last two years, CSR has been central to the development of AFH, a feature now integrated into Bluetooth v1.2. AFH coordinates the frequency used by Bluetooth and other 2.4GHz radio devices such as WiFi, to reduce the likelihood of interference. This makes CSR's BlueCore3 even more suitable for a number of combo designs where WiFi and Bluetooth are required to work together.

Fast Connect significantly improves the usability of Bluetooth devices for the user by allowing connection times to be reduced by an order of magnitude.

Robin Heydon, Technical Consultant, CSR and member of the Bluetooth Architectural Review Body commented, "We have worked closely with the SIG since Bluetooth's inception. Our experience within the Bluetooth silicon sector gives us a key role within the SIG, so that we can be instrumental in developing new standards such as AFH."

Heydon continued, "For the user, the essential improvements of version 1.2 of the specification makes Bluetooth faster, with improved connection times, and stronger, with more robust data and voice connections."

In a separate release:

CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio), a market leader in Bluetooth® silicon, today launched its latest product in the CSR BlueCore3(tm) range. BlueCore3(tm)-External is a flexible configuration that supports all optional features, including full extended-SCO or eSCO (an improved audio quality feature), and all mandatory features of the recently adopted Bluetooth version 1.2 specification, in a single-chip Bluetooth solution. Samples of BlueCore3-External are available now and production quantities are expected to be available in Q2 2004.

BlueCore3-External follows on from the success of BlueCore2(tm)-External. Both devices use external Flash memory, which is an inexpensive way of enabling full firmware upgradeability. In the same way that BlueCore2-External was released as a Bluetooth version 1.1 device, but can be firmware upgraded to version 1.2, so BlueCore3-External will be released against version 1.2 of the specification, but is designed to be upgradeable to future versions.

PCs are one of the largest markets to demand upgradeability. David McCall, Senior Product Consultant, CSR, commented "PC customers demand not only compatibility with the latest specifications but also the ability to upgrade and stay up to date as specifications evolve."

The entire architecture of BlueCore3-External has been designed to provide flexibility for future upgrades. To support upgrades, CSR's proven Device Firmware Upgrade (DFU) technology provides a simple and secure method for OEMs to roll out firmware updates to their customers.

BlueCore3-External radio includes the ability to transmit and receive Phase Shift Keyed modulation as is proposed for future versions of the Bluetooth specification. Additionally, BlueCore3-External contains additional RAM compared to BlueCore2-External. The extra memory enables complex scatternet configurations, allowing BlueCore3-External to connect with many devices at the same time, together with longer data buffers to allow higher data transfer rates for new features in future versions of the specification.

McCall continued, "PCs are a demanding environment for Bluetooth. They may be connected to many devices at the same time: from mice and keyboards to stereo headphones, from printers to PDAs and phones. The PC also requires co-existence with IEEE 802.11b/g and Bluetooth technology on the same device."

BlueCore3-External includes refinements to CSR's already successful Bluetooth / 802.11b/g co-existence scheme to further reduce the effects of interference between the two technologies when communicating with version 1.1 devices. The scheme has been optimized for a wide variety of applications and WLAN chipsets depending on customer preferences, and is designed to complement the Bluetooth SIG's Adaptive Frequency Hopping (AFH) co-existence mechanism, which is used when communicating with other version 1.2 compliant devices.

As the third device in the BlueCore3 family, BlueCore3-External complements BlueCore3(tm)-ROM, which has an on-board mono audio CODEC and uses non-upgradeable ROM memory, and BlueCore3(tm)-Multimedia, which has an on-board stereo CODEC and full DSP: many applications such as those for PCs do not require on-board CODECs or DSP functionality.

McCall stated, "CSR's customers have overwhelmingly supported BlueCore2-External and have had great success in using it to implement a vast array of Bluetooth devices, from PCs and Access Points to Industrial applications." McCall continued, "The introduction of BlueCore3-External promises the same flexibility for customers. It provides excellent performance today and the ability to upgrade for future compatibility."

Cambridge Silicon Radio plc (CSR)

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