CSR Rolls Out BlueCore2-Gateway for Adding Bluetooth to Motherboards

5/21/2003 - CSR (Cambridge Silicon Radio) announced the launch of its latest application specific chip, BlueCore2-Gateway. The new chip is designed to reduce the complexity of adding Bluetooth onto the motherboard of mobile phones and also enable low cost retrofit Bluetooth adaptors for non Bluetooth phones.

To accompany the chip, the company is making available a full example design for a 'Fast Attach' Bluetooth solution. The ultra-low cost design with an innovative circuit gives OEMs the ability to make one basic design that will connect to any phone. The design offers support for wireless headset and all Bluetooth connections to a PC including file exchange, PIM synchronisation, DUN and FAX using the Audio Gateway, Serial Port Profile, Dial-Up Networking and FAX profile on the BlueCore2-Gateway chip.

BlueCore2-Gateway is ROM-based and supplied in a small 6x6mm BGA package with user configurable software. The chip makes extensive use of an on-chip audio CODEC for quality processing of the audio signals. CSR utilises configurable ROM meaning OEMs can benefit from the low cost ROM chips but still have the flexibility to tailor their designs using configurable registers for certain attributes.

A key attribute of the BlueCore2-Gateway design is flexibility. The Bluetooth circuit can be embedded on the phone's PCB itself, implemented inside an accessory battery pack, or in an add-on adapter to plug into the base of the phone.

Whichever approach is adopted by OEMs, CSR's 'one circuit fits all' design for the BlueCore2-Gateway ROM chip provides them with a universal adapter at a very low BOM cost. This example universal circuit uses a combination of techniques to determine the capabilities of what the phone it is connected to. For example, if the phone has a digital interface it will automatically activate the SPP profile, to allow the user to wirelessly connect a PDA or PC to his phone and use the existing set of 'phone tools' software supplied by the mobile phone operator or handset provider. If no digital interface is present it will only expose the headset profile.

The fully embedded Bluetooth solution could be quickly and easily fitted to a mobile phone motherboard for an extremely simple Bluetooth implementation that connects via the standard and familiar AT command interface. This way the phone manufacturer eliminates the need to have complex Bluetooth stack software running on the often already overtaxed phone processor. Adding Bluetooth to a mobile phone has now been made as simple as it is possible to make: mount BlueCore2-Gateway on the phone motherboard or dongle/battery pack, connect the audio and datastreams (through existing mic/speaker connections and data UART port) and the phone is enabled.

When used with pre-paired Headsets or with PC Bluetooth software with a pairing interface, virtually no software changes are required on the phone. CSR's BlueCore2-Gateway is particularly compact so the limited real estate available in mobile handsets can be maximised. This applies equally to the battery pack and add-on adapter designs.

Luke D'Arcy, product manager, CSR commented, "There are still a large number of non-Bluetooth mobile phones which could derive extra value from these retrofit designs by adding additional functionality such as Bluetooth". D'Arcy continued, "We expect to see many mobile handset manufacturers and accessory OEMs using these various phone dongle solutions to prolong the life of handset designs."

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