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ARM acquisitions combine to attack low-power Bluetooth market

Steve Rogerson
April 23, 2015
 
ARM’s plans to attack the low-voltage Bluetooth market as part of its IoT strategy bore fruit last week when it announced the Cordio portfolio comprising products brought together from the acquisitions of Wicentric, a Bluetooth Smart stack and profile provider, and Sunrise Micro Devices (SMD), a provider of sub-one volt Bluetooth radio intellectual property (IP). Terms of the agreements were not been disclosed.
 
The IP of both companies will be integrated to form the Cordio portfolio. This portfolio will complement the Cambridge company’s existing processor and physical IP, targeting end markets requiring low-power wireless communications, such as the IoT.
 
California-based Wicentric is a privately held provider of Bluetooth Smart software focused on enabling the development of low-power wireless products. Its product line includes Bluetooth protocol stack and profiles for creating interoperable smart products and the link layer for silicon integration.
 
Florida company SMD is a privately held provider of radio IP including a pre-qualified, self-contained radio block and related firmware to simplify radio deployment. Central to all SMD radios is native sub-one volt operation. Operating below 1V enables the radio to run much longer on batteries or harvested energy.
 
The Cordio portfolio is available for immediate licensing.Each Cordio product includes a pre-qualified, self-contained radio block, related link layer firmware, stack and profiles along with guidelines for design, test, integration, qualification and application development to get from design concept to end-user production. With the family of radio IP, semiconductor companies have access to sub-volt radio products and can effectively keep up with evolving standards and processes in what is claimed to be a cost-effective, risk-free manner.
 
The family of radio IP is focused on the ease of integration and delivery of wireless connectivity to SoC designers by offering a comprehensive radio supporting process, system and software integration.
 
The Cordio radio IP is claimed to be the only fully integrated platform on the market and includes a transceiver, baseband and link layer (LL) subsystem including firmware. The integrated LL subsystem provides an energy efficient, timing-independent interface to the host processor, enabling implementation of the stack and application layers. In addition, the subsystem intelligently controls the sleep and wake-up times of the host processor leading to lower system-wide power consumption.
 
Core to all Cordio radio hardware is native sub-volt operation. Operating below 1V enables the radio to sip energy from a battery, thus extending the device's life. In addition, it makes it easier to run without batteries by using energy harvesting technologies.
 
The Cordio software consists of Cordio Stack and Cordio Profiles which can be optimally combined by chip makers to create complete LL-to-application software, enabling fast time to market. Cordio Stack is a complete protocol stack providing the features and flexibility to develop SoCs and products. Cordio Profiles provide a production-ready way to create interoperable IoT products. It also provides sample applications built on a software framework that simplifies development and porting.