TI Introduces Comprehensive Hands-Free Kit Development Platform

4/22/2004 - Continuing to drive faster time-to-market for the development of hands-free kits, Texas Instruments (TI) (NYSE: TXN) announced the Hands-Free Kit (HFK) Development Platform matched with a complete Bluetooth® radio subsystem. The complete digital signal processor (DSP)-based platform provides real-time voice and audio-enhancing algorithms and includes a Bluetooth Daughter Card to empower developers to drive high-quality, cellular handset accessories to market faster, while reducing cost.

Meeting demand for affordable, high-quality hands-free accessories
Worldwide, the importance of hands-free technology for improving safety while driving is reflected in legislation restricting the use of handsets in 43 U.S. states, 90 percent of the European market and many other countries. Currently, consumers who want an after-market hands-free kit must choose between poor quality, self-installed units or professionally installed, high-quality, expensive units. By leveraging the programmability and flexibility inherent in DSP technology, developers can use the combined HFK Development Platform and Bluetooth Daughter Card to create lower cost products with superior audio quality, Bluetooth wireless connectivity and differentiated hands-free designs with customized features.

Included in the HFK Development Platform is Clarity Technologies Inc.’s award winning Clear Voice Capture (CVC®) echo and noise suppression software. CVC provides “full duplex” echo suppression for natural conversation and improved voice quality when used in high noise environments like automobiles by eliminating background noise, while also improving speech recognition accuracy.

An added benefit of the HFK Development Platform is its automotive-class power management system for safeguarding against the noise and voltages spikes of a vehicle’s 12V battery. The HFK development platform has a separate FM transmitter so a caller’s voice can be heard through the car sound system, eliminating the need for an external speaker. Integrated algorithms enable full duplex conversation with superior noise reduction. Additional HFK Development Platform features include: a dual-channel A/D converter, cPLD and three programmable LEDs and push buttons.

Bluetooth Now Available for After-Market Hands-free Kits
The Bluetooth Daughter Card incorporates the Special Interest Group-certified TAIYO YUDEN Bluetooth module based on TI’s BRF6100 single-chip Bluetooth device and Stonestreet One’s BluetopiaTM software stack. Ideal for mobile device manufacturers wanting to quickly and easily add Bluetooth functionality, the BRF6100 was the industry’s first Bluetooth chip to use digital radio frequency (RF) technology. Leveraging TI’s patented digital RF and 0.13u process, the BRF6100 is one of the industry’s smallest, most power efficient and least expensive Bluetooth solution, and the full module is only 9.8 mm x 9.6 mm x 1.65 mm. The Bluetooth software from Stonestreet One, Bluetopia, is a full-featured protocol stack including the HCI (Host Controller Interface), L2CAP (Logical Link and Adaptation Protocol), SDP (Service Discovery Protocol), RFCOMM (Radio Frequency Serial Communications Port Emulator) and OBEX (Object Exchange) functionality. This protocol stack enables even developers new to Bluetooth to immediately begin product evaluation and development. Bluetopia also includes the following profiles: headset, hands-free, generic access and serial port.

Seamless Integration for Faster Time to Market
The Bluetooth HFK Development Kit integrates the hardware and software developers need, from low-level LED drivers to easy-to-use application programming interfaces (APIs) behind the complete audio and Bluetooth subsystems, to quickly develop quality, hands-free kit systems.

“Texas Instruments recognizes that with the growing demand for hand-free kits, our customers want faster time to market with high performance products,” said Mathew Divjak, HFK marketing manager, TI. “To give our customers a competitive advantage we’ve brought together fully-optimized audio and Bluetooth providers to create a comprehensive and open development platform targeted specifically at the hands-free market.”

The HFK Development Platform provides a solid baseline design, so developers are able to focus on differentiating their products with advanced features rather than wasting valuable time creating system-level software from scratch. The system-level software is available in a standard, off-the-shelf software package. Available overhead on the TMS320C5407 DSP, the processor of the HFK, is in the range of 30 MIPS, which provides sufficient headroom for implementing unique, value-added features. In addition, the C5407 has a large internal ROM available for program storage, potentially eliminating the need for external memory. TI also helps customers identify appropriate third parties who created optimized algorithms for such features on TI’s DSPs.

Pricing and Availability
Available today, the HFK Development Platform (TDMSHFK5407) is priced at $1,495 and includes the C5407 DSP motherboard with CVC software from Clarity. Also priced at $1,495, the Bluetooth Daughter Card Kit (TMDSBTC) will be available in the third quarter of 2004 and includes the Bluetopia stack from Stonestreet One. Both the Development Platform and Daughter Card include a comprehensive board support package with Code Composer StudioTM (CCStudio) library examples, application notes, user guides and full schematics, which are useful for immediate development. Royalty-free evaluation and testing licenses are available for the software from Clarity and Stonestreet One. Developers must have access to CCStudio v2.2, a JTAG emulator, amplified speaker and a microphone for implementation. For more information see www.ti.com/hfkbt or contact the Product Information Center at (972) 644-5580.

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