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Broadcom pushes Bluetooth for health devices

Posted: 12 Mar 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Bluetooth  health devices  mobile 

Broadcom Corporation has extended its portfolio of Bluetooth system-on-a-chip (SoC) solutions to enable mobile phones (and other devices) to wirelessly track and monitor health and fitness indicators. It's implementation of the Bluetooth Health Devices Profile (HDP) helps expand the Bluetooth ecosystem to include very low power health and fitness sensors enabled by Bluetooth.

Craig Ochikubo, VP and general manager, Broadcom's Wireless Personal Area Networking line of business "We continue to introduce technology and products that expand the Bluetooth ecosystem, broadening the universe of devices that can connect to smartphones and other mobile products. Our expanded BLE offering gives the smartphone more direct insight into its owner's health and fitness, enabling a new level of personalisation and life style enrichment than ever before possible."

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has ratified the Bluetooth low energy (BLE) specification enabling a new wave of Bluetooth applications that connect devices with very low power requirements, including monitoring devices that use coin-sized batteries. The ease with which Bluetooth low energy solutions can be added into cell phones will help consolidate the market for low power consuming devices around Bluetooth rather than the existing handful of proprietary technologies.

Rajiv Kapur, managing director, Broadcom (I) Pvt. Ltd says, "Bluetooth is continuing to broaden its applicability and extending to far more applications than headsets and hands-free. With software applications built on top of Bluetooth, interesting use cases are being designed. We see our leading edge OEMs creatively adding this new functionality into many consumer devices and phones to enable new and unique applications.

India has over 500 million cell phone users, and today over 90% of handsets selling in India have Bluetooth. This ubiquity provides the opportunity to build applications using Bluetooth to either connect unconnected devices, or to simplify use cases for users that are less acquainted with the use of electronic devices. We have been sharing some of these use cases with OEMs, telcos and operators in India and are getting excellent feedback on their applicability to developing solutions based upon Bluetooth".

Broadcom's new HDP profile enables mobile phones (and other devices) to conveniently connect to sensors and monitors for aggregating and displaying small amounts of data, allowing users to track the progress of workouts or monitor their heart rate, displaying this information on their handset screens.

Broadcom's BLE SoC solutions include extensive hardware and software innovations that will be made available across many of the company's Bluetooth products over the coming year.

The first of these BLE offerings includes the Broadcom InConcert BCM2049 Bluetooth combo chip that supports BLE dual-mode operation. This cost-effective, high performance solution enables mobile phone manufacturers to extend the user experience of their handset products by supporting the coming wave of Bluetooth low energy devices. The BCM2049 is compliant with the BLE standard and has achieved qualification from the Bluetooth SIG qualification program.

Making BLE broadly available in mobile phones will provide another connectivity option for developers of phone applications who seek to offer new and novel software products to handset users.

Broadcom has been pushing Bluetooth into a greater range of products beyond more traditional hands-free and wireless peripheral applications, targeting remote controls for digital televisions and digital music players. BLE technology makes Bluetooth even more attractive for these applications and now adds health and fitness devices to the mix.

Broadcom's Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology was recently showcased at the 2010 Mobile World Congress.

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