Design-win for Nordic RF SoC in dual-mode Bluetooth peripheral

November 15, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Said to be the first dual-operating Bluetooth Low Energy, and proprietary 2.4GHz wireless, PC mouse has been launched by Lenovo Group; it employs Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 SoCs

The Lenovo N700 is the world's first wireless mouse to simultaneously support Bluetooth v4.0 (that includes Bluetooth Low Energy / Bluetooth Smart as a hallmark feature) and proprietary 2.4GHz operation. This allows consumers to use their mouse with the latest Windows 8 PCs with Bluetooth v4.0, while retaining wireless compatibility with older PC products (for example, Windows 7 – that do not support the ULP functionality of Bluetooth v4.0) via a small proprietary 2.4GHz plug-in USB dongle

Ultra low power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor supplies the multi-protocol nRF51822 SoCs that enable the dual-mode RF link. Lenovo Group says that its N700 in addition to doubling up as a state-of-the-art laser presenter also offers a further two world-first features: it is the first wireless mouse to be able to automatically remain paired to two separate Bluetooth v4.0 PCs (e.g. desktop/laptop) even though this feature is not yet officially part of the Bluetooth v4.0 specification; and the Lenovo N700 is the first wireless mouse to support the latest Windows 8.1 touch gesture functionality.

In operation, when the Lenovo N700 mouse is first paired with a PC it will scan for both Bluetooth v4.0 and proprietary 2.4GHz wireless technology, and once it has found one, shut down the other. Lenovo Group expects a common early use case to be where consumers have two PCs of which only one supports Bluetooth v4.0 natively, so with the second PC they will use proprietary 2.4GHz wireless technology to operate the mouse via the bundled USB dongle. Switching between the two wireless technologies is then achieved by flipping a small switch on the under-side of the product.

The Lenovo N700 is powered by a single AA battery which allows it to have a thin (1.5cm thick) and light (81.5g) design, while the ULP characteristics of the Nordic Semiconductor nRF51822 still allow it to offer up to 9-months of battery life (2.4GHz operating mode, 6-months in Bluetooth