Boosting Bluetooth

Cambridge Consultants has released a software development toolset that extends the application potential of the leading single-chip platform for Bluetooth applications, CSR’s BlueCore family of ICs.


Cambridge Consultants has released a software development toolset that extends the application potential of the leading single-chip platform for Bluetooth applications, CSR’s BlueCore family of ICs.



The new tools allow users to develop application software to run natively on the XAP RISC microcontroller embedded in all BlueCore devices. This is said to free up a significant amount of computing power, providing developers with even more flexibility to implement hostless, Bluetooth enabled products, based on a single low-cost device.



Up to now, this development option has only been available directly from CSR’s application support service, or through its licensed design partner Cambridge Consultants. For all other applications, BlueCore comes with a virtual machine environment, which provides a robust and protected environment for general-purpose development.



Cambridge Consultants’ new tool suite – xIDE for Interface Express – gives users unrestricted access to the full native power of BlueCore’s XAP microcontroller core. This opens up additional computational bandwidth that may be used to run more complex software, such as application programs with many Bluetooth Profiles.



“BlueCore’s virtual machine has served the first waves of relatively simple Bluetooth applications well, allowing developers to bring single-chip products such as headsets to market very easily. It’s undoubtedly been a major factor in successfully introducing many OEMs to wireless technology and ‘deeply embedded’ systems, and in the success of the Bluetooth standard”, says Cambridge Consultants’ Tim Fowler.



“These new development tools recognise the growing familiarity of such OEMs with embedded design, and the rapidly evolving applications potential of the wireless standard. Bluetooth has recently been augmented with faster data rates for instance – which BlueCore is the first to support – and with this release we are helping CSR to provide more sophisticated development options for its clients to exploit such opportunities,” added Fowler.



xIDE for Interface Express provides a complete software development kit (SDK) for developing standalone BlueCore applications, with BlueCore running both a full Bluetooth protocol stack and application software (rather than being controlled by a host processor). It also includes a large library of qualified Bluetooth Profiles – the software that defines how Bluetooth works in specific applications. These tools are provided within an integrated development environment (IDE) that simplifies software projects through a highly-graphical software project management environment and user interface.



The library of application profiles available to OEMs includes many popular ones such as A2DP, BIP, CTP, HFP, OPP, SAP and SPP, which are important for realising emerging wireless products for markets outside of the core mobile phone and headset Bluetooth applications. Examples include HFP and SAP (hands free and SIM access) for automotive applications, CTP (cordless telephony) for home applications, and A2DP (advanced audio distribution) for streaming stereo audio over a Bluetooth link.