Nordic nRF8002-Powered Bluetooth Low Energy Proximity Key Fob Is First In World To Be Compatible With Both Apple And Samsung Smartphones
Ultra slim, lightweight proximity key fob, developed by Korean distributor Semilink, uses Nordic Semiconductor's µBlue nRF8002 Bluetooth low energy chip with built-in PUID profiles and is compatible with Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S3, R style smartphones, as well as Apple iPad tablet computer
Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA recently announces that Seoul-headquartered Semilink - a provider of application specific standard products (ASSP), System-on-Chip (SoC) customized modules, design services, and component distribution - has announced a Bluetooth low energy proximity key fob based on Nordic's µBlue nRF8002 System-on-Chip (SoC) that features built-in Personal User Interface Device (PUID) profiles.
Called the "Pebble", the key fob offers two functions that build on the two profiles defined in the latest Bluetooth v4.0 Specification applicable to proximity-based property location and security (see "About Bluetooth profiles" below). The Proximity profile ensure that when the key fob moves out of range of the smartphone or tablet computer the user is alerted by an audible alarm eliminating the risk of leaving valuable devices behind. Alternatively, the user is warned by the key fob if an unauthorized person moves the valuable portable device out of range. The Find Me profile enables a misplaced key fob to be located by triggering an alarm from a dedicated application ('app') on the portable device. This is useful if the key fob is attached to a set of keys or other valuable possession.
Pebble features an ultra slim design measuring just 60 by 30 by 11mm and weighing in at less than 12g. Powered by a regular 3V CR2025 lithium coin cell, the nRF8002's class-leading ultra low power consumption extends battery life to over a year under typical (daily) usage conditions (see "About nRF8002" below). The device's range is typically around 10 meters but can extend up to 20 meters.
Bluetooth low energy is a hallmark feature of the latest Bluetooth v4.0 specification and if certain qualification requirements are met the technology can be used to develop Bluetooth Smart devices (such as wireless sensors, peripherals, and accessories) that are compatible with any Bluetooth Smart Ready hub product (for example, a smartphone or tablet computer). (See "About Bluetooth low energy, Bluetooth Smart, and Bluetooth Smart Ready" below.) The Pebble carries the Bluetooth Smart brand mark.
"The Pebble is the first key fob proximity device in the world to be compatible with Apple iPhone 4S and Samsung Galaxy S3 and R style smartphones - flagship products from the two leading smartphone makers in the world - as well as the Apple iPad," says Simon Lee, Semilink's CEO.
"We selected Bluetooth low energy for the Pebble's wireless communication because it guarantees interoperability with existing and future products that incorporate Bluetooth v4.0 technology. Leading smartphone makers Apple and Samsung are among those that have already enthusiastically adopted the technology and many leading consumer electronics manufacturers are set to follow," explains Lee.
"Bluetooth low energy's modest power consumption allowed Semilink to use a small form-factor coin cell battery and produce a lightweight and slim key fob that's convenient to carry. Nonetheless, it was important for us to maximize the coin cell's life, and Nordic's nRF8002 is the 'lowest energy' Bluetooth low energy wireless solution available. Consumers can expect around of year of use from the key fob under typical operating conditions.
"We are already working on a second nRF8002-based proximity alarm-product that will be even smaller and is designed to slip into a wallet," adds Lee.
"Other companies have introduced similar products but Semilink's proximity key fob is notable because of its 'out-of-the-box' compatibility with devices from the leading two smartphone makers," says Geir Langeland, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Sales & Marketing. "Nordic was a member of the group that developed the Bluetooth low energy element of the Bluetooth v4.0 specification and realized very early, along with the Bluetooth Special Interest Group [SIG], that proximity alarm-type applications would be a popular initial application for the technology. The nRF8002 is the number one choice for this type of task because it was specifically designed for the job."
Bluetooth low energy has been designed from the outset to extend Bluetooth wireless connectivity to compact, coin cell-powered devices such as proximity fobs. Nordic has been at the forefront of the group that defined the Bluetooth low energy specification since becoming a foundation member of Nokia's Wibree Alliance in 2006 (the Alliance became part of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) in June 2007). Nordic contributed decades of expertise - gained in producing successive generations of class-leading proprietary and interoperable (ANT/ANT+) ULP wireless connectivity solutions within a field that it pioneered.
Pebble is currently sampling and will be commercially available in Q4 of 2012.
About Bluetooth profiles
In the latest Bluetooth v4.0 specification there are currently two profiles applicable to proximity-based property location and security:
- The Bluetooth low energy Find Me profile that targets smartphone applications and allows users to pair small - but commonly misplaced - everyday objects with their smartphone in order to locate them via, for example, a Bluetooth low energy proximity key fob that could be used to find a misplaced phone (by pushing a button on the fob to make the phone sound an audible alert), or a misplaced key fob (by pushing a button within a smartphone app to make the key fob sound an alert).
- The Bluetooth low energy Proximity profile targets smartphones and other portable devices such as computer laptops and tablets, and further extends the functionality of the Find Me profile to include more advanced in- and out-of-range functions. This could include, for instance, the ability to trigger an automatic security lock-down if a smartphone or laptop/tablet is separated from its owner by more than a certain threshold distance, or wake a sleeping desktop computer as soon as the user sits down in front of it.
SOURCE: Nordic Semiconductor