CSR plc has just launched a new Bluetooth Smart platform, the CSR1012, targeted at developers building low-power wearable accessories.
Part of a family, the CSR1012 with its uEnergy power savings architecture also provides a smaller form factor package and is designed for use in such wearable devices as smart watches and activity monitors.
According to Paul Williamson, Director of Low Power Wireless at CSR, not only does it have a form factor small enough for wearable devices but is still able to use standard printed circuit board (PCB) technology, which allows developers to get a high-volume product to market quickly and cost effectively.
He claims it is also the first to support direct connection to a lithium-ion battery without the need for an external regulator, ensuring the long battery life many wearables need.
Also, he said, it is the first solution that can be directly connected to rechargeable battery chemistries without the need for an external regulator. This not only saves cost and PCB area, but crucially saves precious quiescent leakage current in the external regulator.
The quiescent of an external switcher can be 10-15uA and of a linear 1-2 uA, which can significantly reduce the battery life of a device that is only working in the nano Amp to low micro Amp range. The platform achieves this using an on-chip switched mode power supply that operates from 1.8V to 4.3V. This enables the device to operate directly from compact lithium polymer batteries.
Although the main market is wearables which will reach 210 million units by 2018, Williamson said, it can also be used for other small form factor ‘appcessories’ and HID accessories, such as slim smartphone or tablet styluses and small advertising beacons.
To achieve the small footprint necessary, the CSR1012 comes in an 0.4 mm pitch QFN package can be handled easily on high-volume production lines. Space beneath the device, he said, enables I/O to be routed using standard drilled vias.
“This coupled with a 4×4 package area,” said Williamson, “offers a very small final PCB to ensure developers can produce compact wearable devices with consumer appeal.