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TINY Bluetooth Low Energy SoC and module to connect billion of IoT devices

Dialog Semiconductor has announced the DA14531, the world’s smallest and most power-efficient Bluetooth 5.1 SoC, and the DA14531 module, that looks to simplify Bluetooth product development and enable wider adoption.

The chip, also known as SmartBond TINY, is in production and will be used to extend Dialog’s position in the Bluetooth device market, as the company converges on yearly shipments of up to 100 million units.

SmartBond TINY is intended to lower the costs of adding BLE functionality to an application to as little as $0.50 in high volumes, with the aim of fuelling the next wave of the IoT, that's been estimated to include over 1 billion devices.

The cost of enabling a complete IoT system is under pressure and the SmartBond TINY addresses the growing breadth and costs of IoT devices by enabling a complete system cost reduction through a smaller footprint and size, while maintaining performance quality at a level unmatched by its competitors.

The DA14531 makes it possible to extend wireless connectivity to applications where it would have previously been prohibitive in terms of size, power or cost, especially those within the growing connected medical field. SmartBond TINY will help facilitate connectivity for inhalers, medicine dispensers, weight scales, thermometers, glucose meters etc.

SmartBond TINY is available in packages as small as 2.0 x 1.7 mm. Moreover, the SoC’s high level of integration only requires six external passives, a single clock source and a power supply to make a complete Bluetooth low energy system.

For developers, this means SmartBond TINY can fit into any design, such as electronic styluses, shelf labels, beacons or active RFID tags for asset tracking. It will also be critical for applications that require provisioning such as cameras, printers and wireless routers. Consumers will also benefit with the SmartBond TINY’s reduced system size and power making it suitable for applications such as toys, keyboards or smart credit and banking cards.

SmartBond TINY is based on a 32-bit Arm Cortex M0+ with integrated memories and a complete set of analogue and digital peripherals, and has delivered a record score of 18300 on the latest IoTMark-BLE, the EEMBC benchmark for IoT connectivity. Its architecture and resources allow it to be used as a standalone wireless microcontroller or as an RF data pipe extension for designs with existing microcontrollers.

The module, leveraging the capabilities of the main DA14531 chip, makes it easy for customers to leverage the new SoC as a part of their product development, instead of having to certify their platforms themselves, thereby saving time, development efforts and costs.

The module is also designed to balance running a high number of applications while keeping cost additions to the overall system as low as possible. Breaking through the $1 target for a BLE module lowers the threshold for adding SmartBond TINY to a system and driving a multitude of applications, helping fuel a new generation of IoT-enabled devices.

SmartBond TINY and the module use just half of the energy of their predecessors, the DA14580 and DA14580-based module. TINY’s low power consumption ensures a long operating and shelf life, even with smaller batteries. The DA14531’s integrated DC-DC converter enables a wide operating voltage (1.1 to 3.3V) and can derive power directly from environmentally-friendly, disposable silver oxide, zinc air or printable batteries required for high-volume applications, such as connected injectors, glucose monitors and smart patches.

“The addition of SmartBond TINY and the module builds upon Dialog’s leading presence in the Bluetooth market. With the ability to turn any device, even disposable ones, into a connected application, the TINY SoC and module are opening new markets and driving the adoption of BLE beyond what was previously thought possible in today’s landscape,” said Sean McGrath, SVP, Connectivity and Audio Business Group of Dialog Semiconductor. “TINY and its module’s small size and power footprint, combined with Bluetooth 5.1 compliance, pave the way for the next one billion IoT devices.”

Neil Tyler

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