Antennas and Propagation: an introduction

CSR’s RF consultant Les Smith has authored this 6-part introduction to the fundamental aspects of radio transmission:

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Motor Trend highlights aptX® and the importance of compression in audio quality

CSR recently talked with Motor Trend’s Frank Markus ahead of Telematics Detroit 2014. The popular U.S. based publication posted a round-up of the highlights from the show including a section on aptX®, CSR’s audio coding technology which streams CD-like audio quality over a Bluetooth® connection:

“Did you realize that most in-car receivers currently capable of streaming music from your brought-in device are doing so at a lower, MP3-or-worse level of quality? That’s because they use an SBC codec. This low-complexity Sub-Band Coding or (SBC) was specified by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group. British-based CSR plc has developed a different compression coding called aptX that delivers greatly improved frequency response for near-lossless stereo audio quality. PC and Mac computers and Android devices all use aptX today, so the last step is to get the receivers to recognize and employ it for better car-audio sound quality, and that will happen soon.”

You can read the full article here.

Find out more about the benefits of integrating aptX within in-vehicle infotainment solutions here. For a full list of devices that support aptX visit

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The Expanding Role of Bluetooth® in High Quality Audio Applications

I attended Bluetooth World 2014 and was privileged to be invited to speak as part of a panel discussion on the continually expanding role of Bluetooth® in the audio market, what’s driven its growth and the positive impact Bluetooth Smart is expected to have on the sector.Capture

The backdrop to the panel session was a recently published report from Research and Markets which found that the wireless audio market is set to grow 24% through to 2018 and will then be worth $13.75bn. So the panel session was keen to explore what has driven market growth to date and what will continue to ensure the market expands.

Bluetooth for audio first started gaining traction in mono headsets in the early 2000s and was primarily used by busy professionals or safety-conscious drivers to make phone calls. After initial steady growth, the market largely plateaued a couple of years ago until two factors came together to propel a second wave of rapid growth. The first was a dramatic improvement in the audio quality delivered over Bluetooth, and CSR’s aptX® CODEC had a huge part to play there, and the second being the widespread consumer adoption of media-rich smartphones and tablets.

This combination matched perfectly with the consumer’s increasingly mobile lifestyles and resonated with their growing familiarity and use of wireless devices.  As a result, consumers readily embraced listening to wirelessly streamed music either for personal enjoyment, or shared with friends.

Portable Bluetooth speakers were the first music audio devices to really grab the mainstream consumer’s attention, and having gained an appreciation of the capabilities and benefits that Bluetooth audio had to offer, this naturally led to rapid market volume growth. This acceptance and confidence in Bluetooth audio technology then saw the investment in other devices such as headphones and sound bars increase too.

Looking ahead, Bluetooth Smart has the potential to simplify the user experience even further. For example, in Home Entertainment Audio, the technology has the capability to detect who has walked into a room and can automatically queue up a song which relates to previous choices they have made at a similar time of the day. It simplifies the consumer experience, so users don’t have to navigate through menus themselves, making it a much more personable experience.

The wireless audio market continues to grow, and with Bluetooth Smart offering a more tailored experience to consumers there’s no saturation point in sight. But for the true potential of wireless audio to be realised, there needs to be powerful and flexible platforms at the heart of the development. Find out more about how our audio platforms can help deliver captivating audio experiences.

If you weren’t able to attend Bluetooth World, catch up on the panel session – The Expanding Role of Bluetooth in Audio

What do you think will be the future for Bluetooth in audio? It would be great to get your thoughts and any questions you may have on the topic.


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CSR accelerates prototyping of Automotive SoC platforms

The design complexity of CSR’s next-generation of platform solutions for Automotive Infotainment creates new challenges that current pre-silicon development methodologies struggle to support.

Together with the Cadence R&D team, CSR’s Technology Development & Implementation (TDI) group took on these challenges and developed a novel solution which enables faster software development during the early phase of hardware design. CSR Israel’s Moshe Berkovich, a senior engineer in the TDI group, presented this new and innovative solution for fast prototyping at the 51st Design Automation Conference (DAC 2014) held recently in San Francisco.

Moshe’s presentation, entitled “Using Palladium/VSP Hybrid to Accelerate SW Development”, was part of the Cadence® Theater at DAC program, a lively place to learn – directly from EDA users – how to apply Cadence tools to real-world problems.

The new concept offers a hybrid solution which blends the real hardware implementation with the virtual/abstract modules of the compute-intensive CPU. Together, CSR and Cadence have demonstrated a new approach to accelerated simulation environments which is claimed to be 200 times faster than existing solutions.

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Precise Location – Myth or Reality?

Hamid Ahmadi

Hamid Ahmadi

Is greater accuracy of wireless location devices important and can it be achieved?

What started life as a casual navigation tool, is now being squeezed for more and more performance, according to speakers at the Cambridge Wireless (CW) conference on 5th June hosted by CSR. Wireless industry experts focused in on the issues of location accuracy, looked at the formulation of accuracy, the current methods that are being used, and whether these can be improved and integrated.

Recent studies in both the UK and the United states have shown that while the majority of calls to emergency services are being made from smartphones, as opposed to landlines, the main challenge is the ability to locate the caller. The moment a call is made, GPS navigation is switched off to save battery life, while at the same time, social media, location based apps and texting claim to provide high levels of location accuracy.

Hamid Ahmadi, VP/Chief Innovation Officer, CSR said, “Central to the Position Eco-system is accuracy. This Cambridge Wireless event has allowed us to consider its relevance to various use cases, the importance and difficulties in assessing it. The various presentations covered GNSS and in-doors positioning, in both general and technical manners, overall providing very insightful information.”

Dr Ramsey Faragher, Senior Research Associate, University of Cambridge, speaking at the event explored what happens ‘Behind the Little Blue Dot’. “We have all become accustomed to the reliability of the little blue dot on our smartphone maps and the fusion of satellite, cellular and Wi-Fi positioning systems mean that it is rare to find ourselves stuck without a position fix. But what started life as a casual navigation tool for vehicular navigation, is now being squeezed for more and more performance.” Ramsay pointed to possibility that smartphone technology will soon have the accuracy to direct you to your seat at the football. “That level of accuracy requires an appreciation of what happens behind the little blue dot.”


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CSR at Telematics Detroit 2014 – Bluetooth Smart opening doors

It was clear from last year’s Telematics events that there is a strong appetite among tier 1s and OEMs for integrating more Bluetooth® Smart connectivity applications.

Tyre Pressure Monitoring Systems (TPMS) based on CSR’s Bluetooth Smart technology is just one example of a multitude of opportunities to exploit Bluetooth Smart in-vehicle. From keyless entry systems replacing proprietary lock and unlock technologies to smartphone apps saving drivers preferred settings and displaying diagnostic information, controlling your vehicle directly from your smartphone as opposed to via the car’s telematics control unit is certainly an attractive proposition for consumers and businesses alike. Imagine car rental businesses such as Hertz and Avis providing apps that configure the rental car according to your preferences when you enter the vehicle.

While certainly convenient, this is not the primary reason for car makers to choose Bluetooth Smart. It comes down to economics. Bluetooth Smart reduces the need for as much wiring and cabling in the car, and wire replacement applications can substantially reduce the weight (up to several kilos) and complexity of establishing communication networks in the car. Ultimately it offers the opportunity to consolidate systems. TPMS and keyless systems using Bluetooth Smart can communicate directly to the dual-mode head unit device, thereby eliminating the need for dedicated TPMS and keyless receivers.

In addition, since Bluetooth Smart is a globally licensed ISM band technology, using it reduces costs associated with geographical skews that the varying frequencies of TPMS and keyless systems currently produce.

Dual-mode Bluetooth Smart chips have been shipping into the automotive market since 2011 and are already embedded in head units, ready to communicate with the Bluetooth Smart chips in steering wheel switches, TPMS sensors, key fobs, remote controls etc. We expect the global Bluetooth Smart attach rate to significantly increase over the coming years. With the CSR1010™ auto, as well as the CSRC9300™ audio-centric Bluetooth Smart/Wi-Fi® combo chip (now in mass production) and the CSR8350™, CSR is primed to meet suppliers’ Bluetooth Smart requirements.

Our recently launched CSRmesh™ solution, which is a protocol that enables ad-hoc over multiple Bluetooth Smart nodes, can also be wielded to significantly enhance many non-safety critical functions in the car. For example, a high rise parking lot with sensors throughout would be able to tell an incoming driver where exactly in the lot free spaces are, using CSRmesh to communicate with the sensors throughout the lot to locate that free space.

CSR will be demoing its Bluetooth Smart solutions at Telematics Detroit 2014 – feel free to visit CSR at booth 77.

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CSR at Telematics Detroit 2014 – Driving aptX adoption in the car

Following on from our recent announcements that JVCKENWOOD and Alps Electric are bolstering their automotive infotainment systems and connectivity modules with aptX® integration, we have also ventured into a third partnership which will see Clarion implement aptX into its latest in-vehicle infotainment products.

aptX is set to do for in-vehicle Bluetooth® what it achieved in the consumer space, becoming a standard means of delivering Bluetooth stereo audio from a smartphone to a head unit. With the decline of the in-vehicle CD we are seeing the increasing importance of Bluetooth for stereo audio streaming in the car, with consumers using internet radio and other music streaming services or locally stored content from their smartphone.

There is a growing trend for automotive OEMs and tier 1 car manufacturers to support CD-like audio over Bluetooth to deliver as immersive an in-car experience as possible. Riding on the successful market penetration aptX is achieving (it is now integrated in the majority of today’s smartphones), the push among OEMs to incorporate the technology in-vehicle is steadily growing.

Next to the home, the car is the place where people spend the most time listening to music. As the home and business environments march towards the reality of wireless connectivity, car drivers and passengers are expecting the same functionality and wireless freedom they enjoy in other areas of their lives. It is important for automotive suppliers to take the audio quality of Bluetooth streaming as seriously as they do the quality of the CD/AM/FM radio, especially since the vehicle has a costly high performance stereo system in the first place. Degraded audio over Bluetooth cannot be repaired when it arrives into the car stereo, so aptX integration becomes an especially significant consideration for Tier 1 manufacturers who invest highly in ensuring their car speakers deliver outstanding audio quality.

Bluetooth is becoming more and more important to deliver in-vehicle audio and many designers are struggling with the challenge of offering the best possible audio experience with Bluetooth A2DP. Since there the majority of smartphones now ship with aptX now is the time for in-vehicle designers to adopt aptX to improve the performance of Bluetooth stereo for their next generation systems.

CSR is offering aptX support in all of its latest connectivity devices including the CSR8350™ and CSRC9300™, to support the expansion of the aptX ecosystem in the vehicle. The BlueCore5™ MM chip is another example of a fully AEC-Q100 device which can support aptX streaming in the cars of the future.

CSR will be demoing its aptX solutions next month at Telematics Detroit 2014 – feel free to visit CSR at booth 77.

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DirectOffice Mobile SDK sample app now on Google Play store

Mobile apps are transforming the enterprise by streamlining existing business processes and creating new ways to work. With DirectOffice Mobile SDK, developers can easily add native, high-fidelity viewing and printing of Microsoft Office and PDF documents to their apps. 

Enterprise applications are migrating from desktops PCs to mobile devices. Within these enterprise apps, users expect documents to display and print with PC-like fidelity in a secure and streamlined mobile workflow.  

DirectOffice Mobile SDK is a native software library that runs securely in an app’s private sandbox.  It allows developers to fully integrate office document viewing in their app with no need to hand off documents to another app or upload documents to the cloud for processing. See DirectOffice’s PC-like fidelity for yourself with the DirectOffice Mobile SDK sample app on Google Play:

google play


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Building Apps on Your Hardware: CSR training helps developers hit the ground running

Over the course of May and June, the Bluetooth SIG will be hosting hundreds of engineers from across EMEA, US and Asia to provide in-depth training on how to implement Bluetooth hardware and software for those who are new to the technology. The Bluetooth Innovation Series will take place on the following dates:



As a co-sponsor of the event, CSR will be providing each attendee with a µEnergy® Starter Development Kit, a complete set of tools for developers looking to kick-start their product development cycle.

To help prepare attendees for hitting the ground running with their new dev kit, CSR will be providing a training session at each event from 11:15-12:10, titled ‘Building Apps on your Hardware’. In this session attendees will be given an overview of custom profiles, tips on how to build an app, and advice on how to go about debugging an app if it throws up unexpected problems.

From opening the dev kit, to installing software and downloading the VM app, this session will cover everything you need to know about the differing Bluetooth profiles and the variety of use cases. It will be invaluable for anyone who’s interested in developing Bluetooth-enabled devices, including anything from heart rate monitors to security tags.

Click here to view the agenda and register today.

If you’re unable to join the training session please get in touch with with any questions or check out our Forum and Wiki.

CSR Bluetooth Smart Starter Development Kit

CSR Bluetooth Smart Starter Development Kit

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CSR Bluetooth® Low Energy Starter Development Kit aces UBM Tech’s 2014 ACE Awards

April 1st certainly didn’t label us fools this year; in fact we were named winners instead! On Tuesday evening during EE Live!, CSR was announced winner in the EE Times and EDN 2014 UBM Tech ACE Awards in the ‘Ultimate Products – Development Kits’ category for our low-cost µEnergy® Starter Development Kit. The ACE Awards celebrate the highest achievements in innovation and creativity in electronics design. I attended the awards ceremony and was proud to represent CSR as we were honoured along with the best and brightest people and companies behind the technologies and products that are changing the world of electronics.

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We’re really proud of this achievement because it champions our ongoing commitment to giving developers high quality tools which offer a low barrier to entry to create fully-featured Bluetooth® Smart products. In a market where wearable, human interface, fitness, medical and IoT devices are quickly gaining more prominence, we’re glad that the judging panel recognised the efforts we have gone to to give developers access to highly optimised hardware and software solutions at a cost-effective price, so that they can easily bring their innovative ideas for Bluetooth low energy products to market quickly.

If you are interested in ordering our award-winning Bluetooth Smart SDK it is available globally via Digikey, Broadband and local CSR authorised distributors for $99.

If you’ve got any questions or would like to find out more check out our wiki and developer forum.

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