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Swatch SoC optimised for Bluetooth LE IoT and wearable applications

Steve Rogerson
November 22, 2016

Swatch subsidiary EM Microelectronic has introduced a low-power, system-on-chip (SoC) optimised for Bluetooth v4.2 Low Energy enabled IoT, wearable and smart electronics products.
The EM9304 is architected for flexible usage in a variety of Bluetooth BLE applications. For simple applications such as beacons or smart sensing wearables, it can be used standalone, or connected to various sensors with standard serial interfaces.
Users can also take advantage of a low-power 32bit processor with a floating-point-unit and on-chip non-volatile memory. Alternatively, it can be connected with a standard MCU or custom ASIC for those requiring a simple and easy-to-implement BLE add-on function to existing applications.
“EM has been at the forefront of integrated BLE for many years, with the well-established EM9301 BLE controller and the EMBC0x beacons which were among the first on the market,” said Michel Willemin, CEO of EM Microelectronic. “The EM9304 adds flexibility and outstanding performance in a tiny chip, thereby reinforcing EM’s portfolio of low-power integrated solutions like the EM850x energy harvesting chips and the sensor fusion co-processing ICs which are paving the way to concrete IoT applications.”
The Swiss company claims it is the smallest BLE v4.2 SoC available on the market and it has a 2.4GHz transceiver and programmable transmit power to optimise current consumption. An on-chip power management system has automatic configuration for 1.5 or 3V batteries.
It is compatible with standard 1.5V MCUs such as the company’s ultra-low-power watch microprocessors, or with standard 3V microprocessors from many vendors. The SoC comes with 128kbyte one-time programmable memory for applications, 48kbyte RAM to support application development, and up to 20kbyte retention data RAM.
Included in ROM is a certified Bluetooth v4.2 stack with proprietary application controller interface and link layer with a host controller interface. It supports secure connections, extended packet length and multiple connections.
Current consumption is reduced for all modes of the application using a scheduler and memory manager. Furthermore, the device comes with firmware over-the-air updating routines that can run per application, function, or be configured to reduce download time.
Hardware and software development kits include commercially available tools with an IDE and debugger. A web site and forum can help users with their development, and they include hardware and firmware examples. QFN samples are available and full production will be in early 2017. Customer support for PCB design, and FCC/CE certification is also available.
EM Microelectronic designs and produces digital, analogue and mixed-signal integrated circuits for battery-operated and field-powered devices in wearable, consumer, automotive and industrial applications. The company specialises in user-specific integrated circuit and display products; its portfolio includes Bluetooth Smart controller ICs and beacons, sensor fusion co-processors, display drivers and capacitive touch controllers, NFC and RFID tag and reader ICs, 2.4GHz Cool RF digital wireless transceivers, long-range 2.4GHz transceivers, embedded flash microcontrollers, power management ICs, smartcard ICs, timing circuits, sensor interface and optoelectronic ICs, and plastic LCDs and display modules.