SAN DIEGO, Calif. Ė Nordic Semiconductor announced plans to refresh its 2.4 GHz product line in the next nine months and debuted a reference design for a connected TV remote control using its current chips.
In a press briefing here the Oslo-based chip designer said it will remain focused on a mix of ANT, Bluetooth and proprietary protocols for consumer and medical markets. The company is especially bullish on Bluetooth 4.0. The standard, ratified late last year, supports new low-power levels to extend into devices beyond today's keyboards, mice and headsets but has yet to gain market traction.
'I think this is going to be a huge wave, we do not know all the things that will come out of this," said Svein-Egil
Nielsen, director of emerging technologies
for Nordic and a board member of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group.
Nordic will sample by mid-2012 the first members of the nRF51 series, a new line of 2.4 GHz transceivers with integrated microcontrollers to run protocols and applications. The chips represent a ground-up redesign that will provide more p0erformance at lower power, but the comp any declined to provide details ahead of a launch next year.
The chips will come in serapat5e versions for ANT, Bluetooth and proprietary protocols. However, they will have limited multi-protocol capabilities and cut power by as much as half for some applications, said Thomas
Embla Bonnerud, a Nordic product manager.
The new remote control design, called the nRFready Smart Remote, includes a six-axis motion sensor and an accelerometer. It also includes a multi-touch pad from Synaptics that supports swipes, scrolling and other gestures.
The first version of the design ships this month supporting proprietary protocols. A version for Bluetooth 4.0 will ship before the end of the year.
The remote is aimed at a market connected TVs expected to hit 800 million units by 2016, according to some estimates.
"We think Bluetooth Low Energy [aka Bluetooth 4.0] is really good for remotes because connected TVs will have Wi-Fi typically in combo chips that also support Bluetooth 4.0, so they won't need any additional silicon," Bonnerud said.