embedded world: BLE multi-core wireless MCUs unveiled

Posted By : Mick Elliott
embedded world: BLE multi-core wireless MCUs unveiled

Advanced features including an integrated ARM Cortex-M33-based application processor are at the heart of the SmartBondDA1469x family of Bluetooth low energy SoCs from Dialog Semiconductor which were launched at embedded world 2019 in Nuremberg (February 26-28).

The product family includes four variants and will look to build on the successes of Dialog’s SmartBond products adding greater processing power, resources, range and battery life for a wide variety of IoT connected consumer applications.

The DA1469x product family has been designed to expand the range of applications, underpinned by Dialog’s proven SmartBond technology, that device manufacturers can create. The devices’ three integrated cores have each been carefully chosen for their capabilities to sense, process and communicate between connected devices.

To provide the devices’ processing power, the DA1469x product family is the first wireless microcontroller in production with a dedicated application processor based on the ARM Cortex-M33 processor.

The M33 offers developers greater processing power for more intensive applications, such as high-end fitness trackers, advanced smart home devices and virtual reality game controllers.

The DA1469x range provides developers with advanced connectivity to future-proof their devices to fit the needs of multiple applications. Its new integrated radio offers double the range compared to its predecessor together with an ARM Cortex-M0+ based software-programmable packet engine that implements protocols and provides full flexibility for wireless communication.

On the connectivity front, an emerging application is for manufacturers to deploy accurate positioning through the Angle of Arrival and Angle of Departure features of the newly introduced Bluetooth 5.1 standard. With its world-class radio front end performance and configurable protocol engine, the DA1469x complies with this new version of the standard and opens new opportunities for devices that require accurate indoor positioning such as building access and remote keyless entry systems.

To enhance the sensing functionality of the DA1469x, the M33 application processor and M0+ protocol engine is complemented with a Sensor Node Controller (SNC), which is based on a programmable micro-DSP that runs autonomously and independently processes data from the sensors connected to its digital and analog interfaces, waking the application processor only when needed.

In addition to this power-saving feature, a state-of-the-art Power Management Unit (PMU) provides best-in-class power management by controlling the different processing cores and only activating them as needed.

Across the board, developers will have a full range of computing power and functionality to work with on the DA1469x family.

The SoCs feature up to 144 DMIPS, 512 kBytes of RAM, memory protection, a floating-point unit, a dedicated crypto engine to enable end-to-end security and expandable memories, ensuring a wide range of advanced smart device applications can be implemented using the chipset family and supporting a range of key value-add interfaces to extend functionality even further.

The PMU also provides three regulated power rails and one LDO output to supply external system components, removing the requirement of a separate power management IC (PMIC).

Additionally, the DA169x product family come equipped with a range of key value-add interfaces including a display driver, an audio interface, USB, a high-accuracy ADC, a haptic driver capable of driving both ERM and LRA motors as well as a programmable stepping motor controller.

“The demands of today’s connected consumer are expanding with each new product cycle,” said Sean McGrath, Senior VP & GM of Dialog Semiconductor’s Connectivity Business Group. “Our SmartBond wireless microcontrollers are recognized in the market as being designed not only to meet the needs of today’s users, but to anticipate where the market is heading and offer development opportunities for our customers for their next product cycles. With the DA1469x family, we have doubled the processing power, quadrupled available resources and doubled the battery lifetime compared to its predecessor, making it by far, one of the most advanced, feature-rich Bluetooth products we’ve developed to date.”

Developers working with the DA1469x product family can rely on Dialog’s software development suite - SmartSnippets - which gives them the tools they need to develop best-in-class applications on the new MCUs. The DA1469x variants will start volume production in the first half of 2019.

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