CSR unveils second generation Bluetooth gear

Cambridge Silicon Radio Ltd. (CSR) on Monday launched a second generation of Bluetooth hardware/software bundled products targeted at specific end markets.

The products will offer twice the range and memory of previous CSR products, but at half the size and power consumption, said Alan Woolhouse, CSR's vice president of communications.

Bluetooth is a cable-replacement technology that uses short-range radio to link PCs, mobile phones and other devices such as printers.

The new products are based on CSR's new BlueCore2 single-chip device. Woolhouse says BlueCore2 gives a 20-meter range and a 1M-byte memory address space -- double that of its older BlueCore01 device -- but is much smaller and uses less power. This has been made possible by developing BlueCore2 using 0.18 micron CMOS (complimentary metal-oxide semiconductor) technology, instead of the 0.35 micron CMOS process used for BlueCore01, said Woolhouse.

The cost is also likely to be lower than for previous products because the bill of materials is lower, said Woolhouse, but he would not say by how much.

The first bundled product launched is the BlueCore1-PC, which includes the new BlueCore2 chip, CSR's own operating firmware and a host resident software stack. It is aimed at manufacturers building Bluetooth into Windows-based desktop and notebook PCs, a company release said.

The PC product will be followed in 2002 by BlueCore2-Mobile, BlueCore2-PDA and BlueCore2-Access. The latter is designed to let mobile devices plug into an Ethernet connection for a fast link to the Internet, said Woolhouse.

The bundled products incorporate on-chip, host-appropriate software and differing memory and processing technology to make them suitable for specific applications, said Woolhouse.

Several customers have lined up to buy the new products, but they cannot yet be named, said Woolhouse.

The new chip is not a drop-in replacement for the previous BlueCore01 but redesign will be relatively straightforward, he said.

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