CSR at CES 2014 – Paul Williamson on Bluetooth Smart

Bluetooth® certainly has a strong presence at International CES 2014, featuring prominently in everything from wireless headsets to automotive infotainment systems. The future, however, is in Bluetooth Smart. Take a look at the video below, where Paul Williamson, CSR’s Director of Low Power Wireless, explains the importance of and wide range of applications for Bluetooth Smart. You’ll also hear Paul talk about how Bluetooth Smart is completely changing the product development paradigm companies have been working within for so long.


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CSR at CES 2014 – Joep van Beurden’s Trends & Predictions

International CES 2014 is here, and the excitement is palpable in Las Vegas. Exhibitors are showcasing all their latest technologies based on what they believe will be the dominant trends of the very near future.

Take a look at the video below where CSR’s Chief Executive Officer Joep van Beurden talks about what he believes will be the technology trend to catch like “wildfire” in 2014 and beyond. Hint: CSR’s unique expertise in Bluetooth® Smart will position the company for successful partnerships across a wide range of industries as this trend continues to boom.

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Bluetooth® Smart jewellery fuses fashion and function

CES starts tomorrow and wearable tech is set to be one of the hot trends at the show. But what do consumers want when it comes to wearable technology? CSR decided to ask them and found that 72% say that it’s important that wearable technology devices look good and 67% feel it’s important that they fit with their personal style[1].

So we decided to develop a range of connected jewellery, powered by our latest Bluetooth® Smart solution, to demonstrate the future of wearable technology. The pendant-style connected necklaces contain integrated electronics that enable the wearer to customise the colour and brightness emitted to suit their mood, or to coordinate with a particular outfit.

The electronics integrated into the jewellery have been designed to support a range of functions and so they can also alert users to new notifications on their smartphones, an application that would be suited to a connected bracelet, for example.

The jewellery uses the CSR1012™, part of the proven CSR µEnergy® range, which has been engineered specifically for the wearable technology market. It allows the pendants to connect to smartphones using a fraction of the power of standard Bluetooth by connecting directly to a small lithium battery. It’s also designed to enable a small form factor, making it ideal for wearable accessories.

We can’t wait to see what other truly wearable devices developers come up with. If you’re a developer thinking about developing a Bluetooth Smart powered wearable device and need some advice we’d love to hear from you.

[1] Research results are taken from an online survey of 1076 GB consumers in December 2013

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Bayan Audio launches beautifully designed portable speaker with aptX®

Last week saw the launch of Bayan Audio’s latest Bluetooth® wireless speakers – the new Soundbook X3. The latest addition to the Soundbook range, it comes complete with aptX® technology. Combining unparalleled design, aptX and Bluetooth v4.0, Bayan Audio has created a product that is portable yet powerful enough to fill a room with rich sound.

CSR has worked with Bayan Audio previously on its Streamport products and the original Soundbook to create wireless products that are beautifully designed, with aptX providing near CD-quality audio over the Bluetooth connection.Soundbook X3

Bluetooth 4.0 is also included to allow maximum connectivity and is compatible with version v2.1 and above. Integrated NFC technology ensures a fast, hassle-free way to pair with compatible devices – requiring only a single touch to connect and get started. TDMA noise rejection ensures clear, uninterrupted listening whilst the built-in battery provides 10 hours play on a single charge.

With increasing consumer expectations in wireless audio, high quality stereo audio over Bluetooth has become a must-have feature in such devices, so we wanted to ensure that the Soundbook X3 produced incredible wireless audio quality. aptX delivers on that front.

The engineers at Bayan Audio carried out back-to-back tests in their sound lab to prove to themselves the benefits of aptX: subjectively better stereo separation, more defined soundstage, depth, detail and demonstrably measureable improvements in frequency response and dynamic range, which benefits from the 20W combined power and quad 1.5” speaker drivers, with 3.25” passive bass radiator.

Initial reviews have already started coming in praising the Soundbook X3’s audio quality and the ease of Bluetooth pairing. We believe that aptX coding technology, with its impressive dynamic range, has made a big contribution to enhancing the audio experience the X3 delivers.


John Whitehead is Technology Manager at Bayan Audio


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Webinar: Getting Started with Bluetooth® Smart

CSR Bluetooth Smart Starter Development Kit

CSR Bluetooth Smart Starter Development Kit

Are you a developer with a great idea for an innovative Bluetooth® Smart product? Whether you are looking to develop a next generation wearable gadget or a novel twist on a low energy keyboard or remote, CSR is here to help guide you through the process.

If you would like to find out the basics of developing with the widely supported and flexible spec for low energy wireless connectivity we’d like you to attend CSR’s next webinar, ‘Getting Started With Bluetooth Smart’ on Thursday 23rd January 2014.

Our experts Simon Finch and Ethan Lin will talk you through how to create innovative applications using CSR’s new low-cost Bluetooth Smart Starter Development Kit – available now from Broadband, Digikey and local authorised CSR distributors for just $99.

Register by following the hyperlinks below to secure your place now for one of our two webinars.

The webinars will cover all of the questions a developer would need to ask to get started with CSR’s Bluetooth Smart Starter Development Kit. As a taster, you can find Simon Finch explaining how to install the development kit and talking through a heart rate profile demo below. You can also find further developer support via the newly launched CSR developer forum and wiki.

If you’re unable to join the webinar please get in touch with bluetoothsmart@csr.com with any questions.


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Looking to develop a Bluetooth Smart wearable device quickly? CSR has the solution for you

From activity trackers and heart-rate monitors to smart watches and smart glasses – the wearable tech market is set to explode. IHS predicts that unit shipments of wearable technology will reach 210 million by 2018, driving $30 billion in revenue. This represents a huge opportunity for developers, particularly if they can get a product to market quickly and beat the competition.

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CSR is committed to helping developers do just that, which is why we’ve just announced the release of the CSR1012™, a new Bluetooth® Smart platform designed for developing low-power wearable accessories. The latest addition to the proven CSR µEnergy® range, the solution provides a smaller form factor package making it ideal for wearable devices, but critically it still uses standard PCB technology, allowing developers to get a high-volume product to market quickly and cost effectively. It is also the first to support direct connection to a rechargeable lithium-ion battery without the need for an external regulator, ensuring the long battery life that’s critical for wearable accessories.

The CSR1012 is now available in volume from CSR global representatives and distributors. For those looking to reduce time to market further CSR has developed a range of CSR1012 reference designs with full manufacturing information. (These are downloadable from CSR’s support site, login required).

I for one am looking forward to seeing the next generation of wearable devices hit the market. If you’re looking to develop a wearable device and have any questions please get in touch – the CSR Bluetooth Smart team and I would be happy to help.

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Research shows rapid growth of infotainment connectivity market

The automotive industry has developed rapidly in the past decade; a car is no longer just a mode of transport. We want to see the same technology installed in our vehicles as we have on our phones and laptops – staying connected everywhere, and all of the time, is now expected. This trend is visible through the dramatic changes in automotive dashboards over the years. Ten years ago most vehicles had little or no connectivity, however today’s cars come with in-built connectivity technologies including Wi-Fi® and Bluetooth®.

Newly released research from IHS shows that there has been a big change in semiconductor usage. In 2002 the average car contained about $200 worth of semiconductors, whereas in 2012 this had risen to $330. This is a 65 percent rise and proves that infotainment technology is now a big selling point for motor vehicles. The automotive infotainment industry is growing rapidly, IHS believes that in developed regions, every car manufacturer will offer some connected services in their model line-up by 2015.

Another recent study by IEEE has forecast that by 2025, 60 percent of the cars on the road will be connected to the internet. That forecast shows how far in-car connectivity has come. A big reason for this is that connectivity is no longer solely used for leisure purposes. It is contributing to aspects such as vehicle safety by reducing human error while driving, allowing drivers to travel faster and safer. Connectivity may also be the future of driving with the IEEE research predicting that 75 percent of cars will be self-driven/autonomous by year 2040.

I mentioned in a previous blog what we can expect from In-vehicle infotainment in the near future. Over the next few years we will 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. These studies suggest that the market is adhering to these trends. Infotainment systems are indeed evolving at a rapid rate and it is becoming apparent that they are now being considered a core feature, rather than a luxury.

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An introduction to Antennas and Propagation: Part Two

In this, the second installment of his 6-part series of technical articles about radio transmission, CSR’s RF consultant Les Smith expertly covers the A-to-Z of how radio waves get from A to B…

Follow this link

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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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