Low-power RF development toolbox for Bluetooth Smart/ Android

December 11, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Nordic Semiconductor has released a toolset for Android 4.3 that includes Over-the-Air Device Firmware Update (OTA DFU) and is claimed to be the most comprehensive Android toolset currently available for Bluetooth low energy product development.

nRF Toolbox is a standalone application that also holds the capability of interacting with other Nordic Bluetooth low energy tools as plugins. The tool set is an end-to-end solution, from radio hardware to app (software program) source code, for smartphones and tablets running either iOS or Android 4.3 and newer.

With Google's integration of native support of Bluetooth low energy in Android 4.3, it is now possible to develop Bluetooth Smart devices that communicate with an Android-based smartphone such as the Samsung Galaxy S4 or Nexus 5. This news means developers of Bluetooth low energy products and their associated Apps can address the largest smartphone market segment with less effort and the Android Bluetooth low energy picture becomes less fragmented.

nRF Toolbox is a standalone application that also holds the capability of interacting with other Nordic Bluetooth low energy tools as plugins. This allows developers to tailor their tool usage to fit the exact needs of their end application. nRF Toolbox can store all Nordic apps in one location, and supports both the nRF MCP and nRF Logger apps. It also contains applications demonstrating Bluetooth low energy / Bluetooth v4.0 profiles such as Heart Rate Monitor, Blood Pressure Monitor, Health Thermometer Monitor, Blood Glucose Monitor and Proximity. More profiles will be added in the near future.

nRF Toolbox also supports over-the-air Device Firmware Update (DFU), which allows anyone to upload an application image wirelessly. nRF Toolbox is also compatible with Nordic nRF51822 devices that have the S110 SoftDevice and boot loader enabled. "Being able to flash and update the nRF51822 chip with new Bluetooth low energy applications and profiles over-the-air from your smartphone - and then interact with a running application from the same tool, is extremely useful and really highlights how far Nordic has come in providing customers with a complete end-to-end development solution for Bluetooth low energy products and designs," says Reidar Martin Svendsen, Technical Product Manager at