Broadcom makes the Bluetooth chip spotted in the iPod touch. The company's latest offering might show us what's to come next on Apple's platform.
Equipped with the latest Bluetooth 3.0 (reaching 24Mbps), unspecified Wi-Fi and FM radio, Broadcom's BCM4325 is the first chip of its kind to receive the go-ahead from the Bluetooth Qualification Board. And were Apple to upgrade the semi-dormant Bluetooth chip in the iPod touch and stick with Broadcom as the manufacturer, logic would tell us that this is the chip they'd use.
But don't get your hopes up about Apple activating that FM radio. The old version had that, too.
Broadcom's Combo Chip and Software Achieve Bluetooth® Qualification to Newly Ratified Bluetooth v3.0 + HS Specification
New Specification Adds Enhanced Functionality to Broadcom® InConcert® Combo Chip Products by Enabling Bluetooth Profiles to Leverage High Speed Wi-Fi®
IRVINE, Calif. - April 22, 2009 - Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced that its leading Bluetooth® combo chip technology and associated BTE software have been qualified as compliant with the ratified Bluetooth v3.0 + HS (high speed) specification. The new standard significantly expands the capabilities of Bluetooth wireless technology in multimedia smartphones, netbooks and other devices by enabling the transmission of large files via Bluetooth profiles at speeds up to 24 Megabits per second (Mbps), or a 10 times increase in speed over the previous Bluetooth v2.1 + EDR (enhanced data rate) standard. With the company's InConcert® BCM4325 Bluetooth + Wi-Fi® + FM combo chip solution (which was the first product in the industry to achieve qualification) and Bluetooth software, Broadcom is uniquely positioned to support the latest Bluetooth specification with proven single-chip solutions.
While competing implementations require multiple discrete components that raise cost and power requirements, Broadcom is able to provide a single-chip solution that includes both a qualified Bluetooth v3.0 BR/EDR (basic rate) controller and Wi-Fi CERTIFIED™ media access controller (MAC)/physical layer (PHY) device. When combined with Broadcom's v3.0 + HS qualified host software solution, these products enable OEMs to add the convenience of high speed Bluetooth data transfer while reducing board space, power consumption and overall system cost in next generation Bluetooth-enabled devices. Broadcom's high speed Bluetooth technology was recently demonstrated at the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) announced the formal adoption of its next generation Bluetooth v3.0 + HS wireless connectivity technology on April 21, 2009, at the SIG Annual All-Hands meeting in Tokyo.
In addition to enabling Bluetooth profiles to utilise high speed 802.11 data rates, Broadcom silicon and software solutions will further enable mobile devices to leverage the low power connection management features provided by Bluetooth wireless technology, increasing the valuable synergy between these already popular technologies. Broadcom is working together with other companies and various standards groups to standardize these additional capabilities.
"The new Bluetooth v3.0 + HS specification is a welcome step in the continuing evolution of Bluetooth technology, adding industry approved techniques for leveraging the high data rates of Wi-Fi with the ease of use, low-power and utility that Bluetooth wireless technology is recognised for," said Craig Ochikubo, Vice President & General Manager of Broadcom's Wireless Personal Area Networking line of business. "The new specification makes our combo chip products even more attractive to OEMs who seek to provide their customers with the most complete wireless user experience available."
The Bluetooth products now qualified as compliant with the v3.0 + HS specification include the Broadcom® BCM4325 802.11b/ combo chip solution that combines Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and FM radio functionality on a single-chip design. Broadcom's popular BTE software, the core Bluetooth software stack for which all Broadcom Bluetooth software is based (including BTW, BTW Mobile and embedded software for cellular handsets and other devices) has also been qualified as compliant with the new v3.0 + HS standard. The BCM4325 is also Wi-Fi CERTIFIED in a number of customer products.
In addition to enabling 10 times the transmission speed over previous Bluetooth specifications, v3.0 + HS provides other useful innovations that Broadcom combo chips and BTE software can utilise as well. This includes expanded capabilities for remote control applications featuring Unicast Connectionless Data (UCD) functionality that enables low power operation and reduced latency, making Bluetooth's radio technology ideally suited for consumer electronics remote control applications. The Bluetooth v3.0 + HS specification also enhances the already powerful security capabilities of Bluetooth technology by including the new Read Encryption Key Size feature that allows Bluetooth applications to ensure an appropriate level of communications security.
Broadcom's Bluetooth BR/EDR controller solutions, including the BCM4325 and BCM4329, further provide support for the Enhanced Power Control feature introduced in the Bluetooth v3.0 + HS specification. This feature provides improved control over transmit power levels on Bluetooth BR/EDR links, improving the robustness of communications and providing better optimised power consumption.
"The Bluetooth Special Interest Group is gratified that Broadcom has played an active role in helping drive the evolution of Bluetooth technology through its contributions to the standard and timely implementation of these new features," said Michael Foley, Ph.D., executive director of the Bluetooth SIG. "With strength in multiple wireless technologies, the company is helping make the vision of high speed Bluetooth technology a reality."