Bluetooth SoCs at “ultra-low” power in Silicon Labs' Blue Gecko identity

February 24, 2015 // By Graham Prophet
Silicon Labs has introduced a Bluetooth Smart product portfolio designed to help developers minimise the energy consumption, cost and complexity of wireless IoT designs. It comprises Blue Gecko Modules, SoCs, Development Kit and Software Stack.

Silicon Labs' recent acquisition of Bluegiga, supplier of wireless modules and software, added to ccelerates the company's Bluetooth Smart solutions. Blue Gecko solutions include ultra-low-power wireless system-on-chip (SoC) devices, embedded modules, and Bluegiga's software development kit (SDK) and Bluetooth Smart software stack.

Siliocn Labs comments that by the end of the decade, the use of cost-effective Bluetooth Smart chipsets and wireless SoCs is expected to outpace modules as many IoT applications reach higher volumes: the company shaped its Blue Gecko portfolio to provides flexibility to begin development with modules and transition to SoCs when needed with little to no system redesign.

The first in a family of wireless SoCs for IoT applications, Blue Gecko SoCs combine Silicon Labs “energy-friendly” EFM32 Gecko MCU technology with an ultra-low-power Bluetooth Smart transceiver. This single-die solution provides energy efficiency, the fastest wake-up times, superior RF sensitivity and no-compromise MCU features combined with the Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart software stack to help developers reduce system power, cost and time to market. Unlike other Bluetooth Smart IC alternatives, a Blue Gecko SoC can transmit +10 dBm or higher output power with its fully integrated power amplifier and balun, further reducing design complexity.

Blue Gecko SoCs are based on the ARM Cortex-M3 and M4 cores and offer 128 to 256 kB flash sizes and 16 to 32 kB RAM sizes. The SoCs integrate an array of low-energy peripherals as well as Silicon Labs' Peripheral Reflex System (PRS) for autonomous peripheral operation. The Blue Gecko SoC family also offers a roadmap of enhanced flash and RAM memory sizes and additional package options to meet future application needs.

Bluegiga modules based on Blue Gecko SoCs are designed to help developers accelerate time-to market and reduce development costs and compliance risks by providing a pre-certified, plug-and-play RF design. Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart modules incorporate all features of Blue Gecko SoCs and are certified for use in all key markets including North America,