aptX Low Latency and Mad Catz get rid of that syncing feeling

Mobile games are getting better and better with each passing week. The visuals from the latest games look great, the gameplay top-notch and most importantly to us, the sound effects and audio tracks impress us too! For gamers to fully appreciate the audio experience in their mobile games they’ll want headphones that truly immerse them in the experience.

This is why we’re also really excited about the new wireless F.R.E.Q.M Wireless Headset from Mad Catz that use aptX® Low Latency for high quality Bluetooth® Stereo Audio delivery.

Mad Catz know gamers. The company prides itself on making headphones which provide such an immersive sound experience that gamers feel like they’re in the thick of the action. They also realise that more and more gaming is happening on mobile devices and that even at home gamers don’t want to tethered by wires – they also shouldn’t have to compromise on sound quality just because they want the freedom of wireless.

Hero Shot Black

Mad Catz and aptX Low Latency offer a truly immersive audio experience

That’s why Mad Catz has specifically chosen CSR’s aptX Low Latency audio codec for its F.R.E.Q.M Wireless Headset. The audio codec enables consumers to watch videos and play games while enjoying CD-like quality wireless audio on mobile devices with no lip or action-synchronisation issues. The inherent latency of standard Bluetooth of more than 150 ms is not ideal for video or gaming applications, but aptX Low Latency circumnavigates this issue by delivering a total end-to-end latency of just under 40 ms. There is no significant time lapse between the sound and video experienced by the viewer, so users will, for example, hear gunshots as they leave the barrel rather than a split-second later.

And the codec retains all the other great features of aptX, so the audio content transmitted over the wireless Bluetooth® link is crystal clear – meaning gamers using Mad Catz headphones can lose the wires without losing any audio impact. The high-quality sound experience also means the headsets can be used for much more than gaming, working equally well for consumers looking to listen to their favourite music, or watch films or videos.

In order to fit within the Bluetooth ‘pipe’ and transmit wirelessly, audio needs to use a bit rate reduction technique. aptX audio technology uses a non-destructive solution to ensure the audio is transmitted over Bluetooth’s available bandwidth. It replicates the entire frequency of the audio, maintaining CD-quality audio over the Bluetooth connection and ensuring that users can hear every sound as it was originally intended.

aptX is fast becoming the industry standard for high-quality wireless audio. The ecosystem is going from strength to strength with over 150 manufacturers, including Samsung, Sennheiser and Philips, now using aptX in a range of devices including smartphones, tablets, wireless headphones and portable speakers. We’re talking to some exciting brands so keep your eyes peeled in the coming months for more news of both source device and accessory manufacturers choosing aptX and aptX Low Latency.

And happy gaming!

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Which technology will be the most dominant in the connected car of the future?

The connected car of the future is a topic that is increasingly attracting a lot of debate. Thomas Carmody, Head of Automotive Connectivity Marketing, gives his view of which technologies will come to dominate the in-vehicle market.

You can visit CSR at Telematics Munich at booths P16 and P17.

 

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Telematics Munich demo preview from Thomas Carmody

Thomas Carmody, Head of Automotive Connectivity Marketing, gives a low down of what CSR will have on display ahead of this year’s Telematics Munich event. You can visit CSR in the Expo Arena at booths P16 and P17.

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An introduction to Antennas and Propagation: Part One

Read the first part of 6 installments…

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The emperor of all navigation apps: how GPS penguins have saved a Tokyo aquarium

The Sunshine Aquarium had a problem. Not only was it a 35-year old attraction in a city full of new and interesting things to see and do; it was also a kilometre away from the nearest station and difficult to find.

Rather than increasing their marketing and putting up better signage the team at the aquarium thought a little bit differently – combining GPS and augmented reality to create a fun and useful navigation app. Motion capture technology was used to create life-like penguins that helped navigate smartphone users through the Tokyo streets to the door of the aquarium.

At CSR we’re always looking for innovative uses of technology and this really stood out. Using GPS at its heart but combining it with augmented reality in a way that is useful, fun and appeals to its customers makes this app truly ingenious. Be sure to check out the video below to see the app in action.

 

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Bluetooth Smart takes to the stage at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe

Don’t panic! We haven’t packed our day jobs in for a life of stand-up comedy just yet!

Juliette Burton used a CSR1011 Bluetooth Smart enabled presenter to ensure her show ran smoothly

Juliette Burton used a CSR1011 Bluetooth Smart enabled presenter to ensure her show ran smoothly

Instead we were able to use CSR’s Bluetooth Smart platforms to help the comedian Juliette Burton with her debut solo comedy show at the Edinburgh Fringe 2013. Here at CSR we’re always keen to see new and innovative use cases for Bluetooth Smart Technology, from our Ultra-Thin Keyboard technology demonstrator to the latest Bluetooth Smart health monitoring products from Qardio, and working with Juliette has given us the opportunity to take Bluetooth Smart to the stage.

The content (and successful performance) of Juliette’s one woman show depended on the precise timing of multimedia cues throughout. Having encountered range, performance and battery life issues with existing off-the-shelf presenter remotes, Juliette needed a dependable cueing solution that would deliver the performance and range necessary to allow her to move around the stage freely without the risk of connection loss or late cues.

CSR provided Juliette with our Bluetooth Smart enabled presenter for use in her show, giving her peace of mind and confidence that her all-important cues would be delivered on time no matter where she was on stage.  Taking advantage of the reliability and low power consumption inherent in the CSR µEnergy® product lineup, the CSR Presenter comprises a CSR1011 with a small form factor, eight-element keyscan matrix. The software is derived from the Bluetooth Smart keyboard application in CSR µEnergy SDK, and the button functions were customized to meet Juliette’s specific needs.

Bluetooth smart remote control development kit

Bluetooth Smart remote control development kit

If you’re interested in developing Bluetooth Smart Remote Controls check out the CSR µEnergy Remote Control Development Kit which provides a full system solution based upon CSR1011 with advanced features such as gesture recognition, voice control and low power consumption.

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Bluetooth Smart® Android application development example code

Android 4.3 Jelly Bean introduced a standardised API for Bluetooth® Smart (previously known as Bluetooth Low Energy) application developers. CSR is committed to supporting developers in creating engaging Bluetooth Smart products, and part of that product development includes the creation of applications for smartphones and tablets.

What have we created for developers?

CSR has built a framework application for Bluetooth Smart on Android (application skeleton code). The framework application demonstrates how to connect to and communicate with a Bluetooth Smart accessory using the Android 4.3 GATT API.

Using this framework we have created an application supporting the Heart Rate profile. This profile uses a SIG defined GATT database to communicate with chest worn heart rate monitors.

We have written a guide that shows how to build the heart rate application from the CSR framework. All of the source code and the final application can be downloaded from CSR support:

Example Bluetooth Smart Android application code

What can you do with this code?

The Android API for Bluetooth Smart has some known issues. In our example code we have done what we can to give you a head start in dealing with these.

As a registered CSR developer you can take this code as and use it in any way you choose to create your own application. We have concentrated on the Bluetooth Smart functionality using very basic graphics and expect that you will want to create your own user experience.

Android has a huge share of the global market for smart devices (nearly 80%, according to IDC’s latest figures) and we look forward to seeing the results of your development. Stay tuned as we release more example applications and profiles in the coming months.

Example Bluetooth Smart heart rate application

Example Bluetooth Smart heart rate application

 

 

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CSR introduces the new and enhanced Quatro® 5300 processor

We launched our Quatro® 5300 processors for printers, scanners and all-in-ones last year, with the aim of helping OEMs create smaller, cost effective controllers an extensive range of low-end to mid-range products and that could be brought to market quickly. We were able to create a processor that set the industry benchmark and had the highest level of integrated functionality.

In order to adapt to the market and advancing technology we have continued to innovate. We are therefore pleased to introduce the enhanced performance version of the Quatro 5300 series. The enhanced Quatro 5300 series now incorporates an ARM 11 CPU core with up to 600 MHz processing speed and two Quatro Imaging DSP’s with up to 480 MHz processing speed. This enhanced performance allows the Quatro family to better bridge the gap between its low end Quatro 53xx series and higher end Quatro 45xx series.

 

Enhanced Quatro 5300 features:

  • ARM11 processor speed increase from 525 MHz to 600 MHz
  • Quatro DSP speed increase from 420 MHz to 480 MHz
  • Colour Copy processing speed increased from 25 ppm to 30 ppm
  • Mono Copy processing speed increased from 50 ppm to 60 ppm

 

CSR has recognised that developers are constantly looking for more processing power and we believe that our enhanced Quatro 5300 will meet their needs.

Here at CSR we believe that innovation and integration are essential ingredients for any market leader and are we are confident that the new Quatro 5300 will help us to continue to lead the way.

 

Quatro® 5300

Quatro® 53xx Block Diagram

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Bluetooth® Smart Enables World’s Thinnest Wireless Keyboard

Imagine a paper-thin wireless keyboard that can be bundled with your tablet to free-up valuable screen space without adding any bulk or weight. Imagine a wireless touch-surface that can slipped into your notebook and used to capture notes sending them straight to your tablet. Sound too good to be true? It isn’t.

At CSR we’re massively excited about the revolutionary potential of Bluetooth® Smart for computing interfaces. In fact, we are so excited we’ve developed the world’s thinnest wireless computing interface to demonstrate the innovation made possible by Bluetooth Smart in this category.

Screen Shot 2013-09-02 at 12.13.00

The flexible device, which is less than 0.5 mm thick, turns any area into a touch surface. Combining CSR’s low-power wireless technology with the latest in printable, flexible electronics from Conductive Inkjet Technology and touch screen sensing from Atmel the device can be used to extend the touch interface of tablets and smartphones.

It is light weight and flexible and can be integrated into a protective cover or used to create large touch zones on a desktop. With minimal weight and bulk, a full keyboard experience can be added to a tablet without taking up valuable screen area. Thin enough to slip behind the pages of a notebook, it can be used to pick up handwriting and sketches from the nib of a modified pen.

Consumers want innovative, portable wireless accessories that just work with their mobile devices. The ultra-thin touch surface we’ve developed is a perfect example of how Bluetooth Smart can give them just that. We’re committed to working collaboratively with developers using the CSR µEnergy platform to help them bring similar next generation accessories to market quickly.

We have created a video to explain more about how CSR and why CSR created the ultra thin touch surface.

 

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The infotainment system of 2025

For the past few years OEMs have been exploring what the possibilities are for integrating wireless devices into the car to make it a truly connected vehicle. Many mainstream offerings already exist that make use of classic Bluetooth® profiles. These include HFP for hands-free calling, A2DP for streaming wireless audio and MAP for sharing of messages between phones and infotainment systems. Over the next few years we will begin to see more OEMs make use of Wi-Fi® to support faster connections and downloads to the infotainment system, as well as adoption of  Bluetooth Smart based around solutions such as the CSR1010™ auto. This will lead to infotainment systems that go beyond traditional hands-free phone and contact sync use cases to also include exciting new applications, such as keyless entry – this is where individual driver settings and vehicle information can be stored and shared from the key fob over Bluetooth Smart. With Bluetooth Smart the infotainment system may also receive biological measurements from the driver using available healthcare and sport fitness profiles from low power sensors worn by the driver, allowing the infotainment system to assess current health and stress levels.

But jump forward a decade, and the applications we use in the car will have increased dramatically. The connected car of 2025 will certainly be filled to the brim with technology that we are only just dipping our toes into today and in my view, it will be the infotainment system that bears the load.

Autoinfotainment

This is because all trends point towards drivers having either more time behind the wheel due to self-driving cars or, more likely, more reasons to be distracted due to a slew of extra features within the car. In both scenarios, cars will nevertheless require technology that will allow for short lapses of attention from the driver. Sensors will inform the car about the surrounding conditions as well as the state of the driver, enabling the car to act independently of the driver if necessary via automatic braking, acceleration, steering etc. These advanced features will allow the driver to interact with more feature-laden infotainment systems and offset today’s hazard implications of having your eyes off the road for extended periods of time.

So how will infotainment systems evolve to meet these needs? Change will come in the form of the Bluetooth Smart low energy communications as discussed above and increasingly high speed wireless links to a cloud component which will lend a lot more processing power to infotainment systems. The cloud will tie all of the software and hardware features of the car of 2025 together. Each infotainment system will contain a heavy cloud content aspect, meaning there will need to be very good coverage for high bandwidth connections from vehicles to the internet.

For example, current voice recognition in infotainment systems is pretty poor due to variable noise inside and outside the car and the issues associated with interpreting different dialects and accents, which with present technologies is difficult to offset. These problems will be better handled in the future because more powerful processors in the car will be supported by higher speed wireless links to a cloud component which will lend a lot more processing power and learning to drastically improve automatic speech recognition.

Not every system and tool will be held in the cloud. On a luxury brand vehicle, customers are more willing to pay for embedded electronics and that justifies their higher price. Therefore systems and tools will vary accordingly. It will not be a one-size-fits-all decision as different OEMs will take different paths. Architectures will be modified according to the price-point of a vehicle. For example, on low and mid-range cars, there will be more infotainment systems that rely more heavily on bringing smartphones and tablets in the car for both content and connectivity.

Some elements though will be universally held in the cloud such as highly volatile and time dependent information such as traffic and weather. Safety functionality, display and sound rendering, in-car sensors and other functions that are very much dependent on latency speeds and use of raw uncompressed data will be processed locally in the car, whereas most non-safety related functionality will be accessible via a mobile device or wireless modem.

CSR is already pushing the limits of in-car connectivity and location positioning with our precise Quad-GNSS positioning solutions, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi standalone and combo solutions supported by our RoadTunes™ and CSR Synergy® connectivity software solutions along with our SiRFprima®,and SiRFatlas® platform offerings. With the addition of cloud-based processing power in the near future, infotainment systems will evolve from being a connectivity hub to the central component of your driving experience.

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