Reading-based Dialog Semiconductor says it has launched the “world’s smallest and most power-efficient” Bluetooth 5.1 SoC (system-on-a-chip), in a product release it hopes will driver much wider Internet-of-Things (IoT) uptake.
The Bluetooth 5.1 SoC, dubbed “SmartBond TINY” or, more formally, DA14531, measures just 2.0 x 1.7 mm; half the size of its predecessor, and could be used with RFID tags, on bank cards, or as a standalone wireless microcontroller.
The Bluetooth 5.1 SoC “brings down the cost of adding Bluetooth low energy in any system to $0.50 in high volumes”, Dialog Semiconductor said today, suggesting it has managed to nail the challenge of low-cost production.
The SoC, which will ship in Q2, 2020, works well with batteries as low in capacity as 30mAh — and owing to record power efficiency of 18300 on the EEMBC benchmark for IoT connectivity “IoTMark” — will support multiple years of shelf life, the Reading-based firm claimed.
Dialog, (which closed a $600 million deal with Apple for certain power management technologies and other assets in April 2019) added that it will be shipping it “in an easy-to-use tiny module… making the addition of Bluetooth low energy to any application a simple drop-in.”
Dialog’s New Bluetooth 5.1 SoC: Based on Arm Cortex M0+
The SmartBond TINY is based on a 32-bit Arm Cortex M0+ with integrated memories and a complete set of analog and digital peripherals.
The Bluetooth 5.1 SoC ships with a Software Development Kit (SDK) supporting major compilers such as Keil and GCC out of the box and is currently in production.
Dialog Semiconductor said this morning: “The DA14531 makes it possible to extend wireless connectivity to applications where it would have previously been prohibitive in terms of size, power or cost, especially those within the growing connected medical field. SmartBond TINY will help facilitate connectivity for inhalers, medicine dispensers, weight scales, thermometers, glucose meters and more.”
The company added: “The SoC’s high level of integration only requires six external passives, a single clock source and a power supply to make a complete Bluetooth low energy system… This means SmartBond TINY can easily fit into any design, such as electronic styluses, shelf labels, beacons or active RFID tags for asset tracking.”
The Bluetooth 5.1 standard launched in January 2019.
It comes with radically improved proximity and positioning capabilities. (Users can now identify the location of Bluetooth 5.1-equipped items at 1cm accuracy — unusually, using a technology first tested in 1888).
With nearly four billion Bluetooth-enabled devices shipped in 2018 alone, the shortwave UHF technology is used by developers looking to stream audio between devices, transfer data between devices, build asset tracking solutions, or create large device mesh networks.