Power consumption slashed by Nordic's new nRF51 Series ULP wireless SoCs


NRF51 improves RF performance, freeing designers from proprietary software

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Nordic Semiconductors RF51-Series-SoC

Nordic Semiconductor has launched its new nRF51 Series of ULP RF ICs. The first two nRF51 Series ICs to debut are nRF51822, a multi-protocol Bluetooth low-energy 2.4-GHz proprietary RF SoC, and nRF51422, an ANT/ANT+ SoC. The devices share a new higher-performance, lower-power 2.4-GHz multi-protocol radio and a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 processor. Enhancements deliver up to 50% lower power consumption, an RF link budget improvement of up to 9.5 dB, and upwards of 10x more processing power, compared to Nordic's previous generation of ULP wireless ICs. Nordic's software architecture for Bluetooth and ANT SoCs frees designers from integration effort, complexities, and restrictions of chip vendor-supplied software frameworks, allowing customers instead to develop their designs quickly and easily using the popular and familiar ARM Cortex programming environment. This major benefit is achieved by using a new and novel software architecture featuring a unique and powerful separation between protocol stack and user application code. Separation gives developers a clean boundary between application and protocol stack, and removes the need to struggle with application code integration as part of a vendor-imposed application development framework. Code development is now simplified and accelerated and simultaneously risks associated with integration of application and stack code significantly reduced. Customers can expect lower bug rates and improved robustness for applications. With the launch of the nRF51 Series, developing applications based on devices from any of the three main ULP wireless sub-categories—Bluetooth low energy, ANT/ANT+, and 2.4GHz proprietary RF—becomes straightforward and accessible to the widest possible range of developers. "We have worked closely with our most trusted customers for several years on the nRF51 Series and we are confident that this latest Nordic product range once again sets a new benchmark for Bluetooth, ANT, and 2.4GHz RF proprietary ultra low power applications," comments Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Nordic Semiconductor's director of Product Management. The nRF51822 and nRF51422 are sampling to lead customers now. General availability is scheduled for early September 2012 and mass production is scheduled for Q4 2012. Nordic Semiconductor