LONDON Bluetooth chip specialist CSR plc has started selling a software upgrade that it says has the potential to transform the wireless PC peripherals business from a premium after-market to a mass market standard.
Dubbed BlueICE (BlueCore Input Connection Enhancement), CSR (Cambridge, England) says the upgrade will allow Bluetooth keyboards and mice using BlueCore silicon to connect with the host PC simply by adding batteries.
It would also allow the keyboard and mice to be used during boot-up, before the operating system has loaded, negating the need for a reserve wired keyboard.
CSR says the wireless peripherals can thus be bundled as standard with PC shipments, expanding the total available market for wireless keyboards and mice to approximately 340 million units, bringing it in line with the 2006 PC sector TAM of 169 million units, according to recent research from DECISION Etudes & Conseil.
"Simplicity of connection and the difficulty in using them to change BIOS settings were previously major barriers to the bundling of wireless peripherals with new PCs," commented David McCall, VP of the PC strategic business unit at CSR. "Consumers would need to keep a wired keyboard in reserve if they needed to boot from a CD or change the BIOS as the wireless devices needed to wait for the OS to load the Bluetooth software stack before they could connect. BlueICE circumvents this issue meaning that a BlueICE keyboard and mouse are as simple and straightforward to use as one with a wire."
BlueICE is a collection of software developed specifically to work with BlueCore4-EXT in wireless keyboards, mice and the host interface (either built into a PC or housed in a dongle). CSR stresses using BlueICE for all three components of the desktop PC system allows advanced features of the software, such as Auto-Connect, to be utilized.