Latest Nordic Wireless Quarter Magazine Available

Beacons are small computers with a complete System on a Chip (SoC). There are four main companies that manufacturer SoCs: TI, Dialog, NXP and Nordic. Nordic is the most popular SoC for use in beacons, mainly because of the lower (tool) license cost and ease for beacon manufacturers developing the software (actually called firmware) that runs in the beacons.

Nordic has a new free Wireless Quarter Magazine that showcases uses of Nordic SoCs in many types of device, not just beacons.

The magazine also has articles on how Nordic is the first to launch a Bluetooth mesh Software Development Kit, how Mesh strengthens Bluetooth wireless’ IoT credentials and explains Bluetooth 5’s advertising extensions. The article says of Bluetooth 5’s advertising extensions:

“Advertising extensions, periodic advertisements, and connectionless broadcast will have a major impact on beacons”

However, the article says:

“This won’t happen overnight because few current smartphones incorporate Bluetooth 5, but expect beacons to proliferate over the next several years as new smartphones are rolled out”

New Minew Firmware

Minew have announced new beacon firmware for their newer Nordic nRF52832 based beacons. nRF52 consumes less power than nRF51 based designs. The new firmware and apps support iBeacon and Eddystone (URL, UID, TLM) broadcasting simultaneously.

Beacons supporting the new firmware include the E2 Max Beacon, i7 Rock Beacon, C7 Card Beacon and C6 Wearable Beacon that we hope to have in stock in the near future.

View our current Minew beacons.

Nordic Releases nRF52810

Nordic, who supply the System On a Chip (SoC) in many beacons, have recently released the nRF52810 SoC.

Nordic already offer the nRF52840 and nRF52832 but while these have been suitable for use in Bluetooth 5 beacons they are over-specified and hence too expensive for use in most beacons. The nRF52810 solves this problem by providing a reduced feature set that makes this SoC typically 25% less expensive. Nordic say:

“The nRF52810 represents the most accessible, single-chip Bluetooth 5 solution available on the market today.”

A post on the Nordic devzone explains the main differences between the nRF52810 and nRF52832. It’s mainly removal NFC and other peripherals that aren’t important for beacons.

The nRF52810 supports Bluetooth 5 high speed and advertising extensions but, interestingly, not long range. It’s expected that the removal of the redundant peripherals should also improve power and hence battery use.

More Silicon Manufacturers Eyeing Bluetooth LE

Following Toshiba, silicon manufacturers are becoming more active in the Bluetooth LE space. STMicroelectronics have announced their Latest SoC, the BlueNRG-1 and Fujitsu have announced the FWM7BLZ20 module.

The BlueNRG-1 has a SPI interface to communicate with an application processor suggesting use within other larger hardware systems while the Fujitsu FWM7BLZ20 is a pre-certified module with integrated antenna, based on the Nordic nRF52832, allowing you to get to market quicker.

While these new products are suitable for beacon related products, their use is more likely to be targeted at Bluetooth LE IoT applications.