Blue-eyed CSR

The growth in the use of wireless technology and the increasing adoption of Bluetooth across a range of platforms helped Cambridge Silicon Radio to another strong financial performance.


The steady growth in the use of wireless technology and the increasing adoption of Bluetooth across a range of platforms helped Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) to another strong financial performance.


The UK-based world-leading provider of Bluetooth technology benefited from a plethora of design wins, a couple of acquisitions and introduction of new technology to record a 92 per cent increase in sales in 2005 to £277m.


With the Bluetooth market estimated to have doubled last year, CSR secured 460 new design wins and shipped 150 million units. As a result the company’s profits before tax almost doubled to £65m.


The fifth generation of its BlueCore suite was launched, and featured in more than 50 per cent of all Bluetooth devices shipped and 60 per cent of all qualified Bluetooth-enabled products from the likes of Nokia, Dell, Panasonic, Sony and Apple.


According to chief executive John Hodgson, the strong performance was the result of CSR’s strategy of driving down the cost of Bluetooth solutions while reducing size and increasing functionality. He claimed that the market offers promising conditions for product development and manufacture. ‘Looking ahead, we see the Bluetooth market continuing to expand,’ said Hodgson. ‘The attach rate in mobile phones is rising both as the demand for handsfree calling grows and as mobile phones increasingly move into services such as music streaming and gaming.’


CSR’s optimism is based on the room for further penetration of Bluetooth into major markets. While mobile communication is generating growth in handsets and headsets, less immediate platforms are also increasing steadily.


The PC market’s appetite for Bluetooth devices demonstrated a steady rise last year, and is expected to grow further with the use of headsets to make voice-over-internet (VoIP) calls.


The automotive market also presents an immature but potentially big sector for CSR, with a number of major car manufacturers such as Nissan, Renault, Ford and Toyota introducing Bluetooth connectivity in 2005. More than three-quarters of the designs were awarded to CSR, while in the stereo headphone market it secured 69 per cent.

The acquisitions of Clarity Technologies and UbiNetics, in March and August respectively, further strengthened CSR’s position within the sector, with both companies offering greater technological know-how: Clarity brings its Clear Voice Capture (CVC) technology which enhances audio performance, and Ubinetics provides a strong R&D team to enhance software development.