What happened to Cambridge Silicon Radio Limited?

27th June 2024
Sheryl Miles

Cambridge Silicon Radio Limited (CSR) was a notable player in the semiconductor industry, specialising in wireless connectivity technologies.

Founded in 1999, the company quickly gained recognition for its innovations in Bluetooth and other wireless communication standards, significantly impacting various sectors, including consumer electronics, automotive, and healthcare.

CSR, based in Cambridge, UK, was renowned for its development of integrated circuits and software for short-range wireless communication. The company's product portfolio included Bluetooth chips, Wi-Fi solutions, and other wireless communication technologies, catering to major electronics manufacturers globally. CSR's technology was embedded in a range of devices, from smartphones and tablets to automotive infotainment systems and wireless audio products.

What happened to CSR?

CSR's journey saw significant growth and expansion, driven by the increasing demand for wireless connectivity solutions. In 2011, CSR made a strategic shift by acquiring Zoran Corporation, enhancing its capabilities in imaging and video processing. However, the competitive landscape in the semiconductor industry was challenging, leading to strategic changes in the company’s direction.

Global pioneer in wireless technology, Qualcomm Incorporated, acquired CSR in 2015. This acquisition was aimed at bolstering Qualcomm's position in the Internet of Things (IoT) and automotive markets by leveraging CSR's expertise in Bluetooth and wireless audio technologies.

Post-acquisition, CSR's operations were integrated into Qualcomm's broader organisational structure, and the CSR brand gradually phased out. Its technologies and expertise have been absorbed into Qualcomm’s portfolio, contributing to Qualcomm's advancements in wireless communication and IoT solutions. Consequently, CSR-branded products and services are no longer available, though the technological innovations it developed continue to thrive under Qualcomm's umbrella.

What about the CSR Harmony Wireless Software Stack?

Following Qualcomm's acquisition of CSR, many users and industry observers have been curious about the status of CSR's software products, particularly the CSR Harmony Wireless Software Stack.

After Qualcomm acquired CSR, the primary focus was on integrating CSR's technology into Qualcomm's broader portfolio to enhance its offerings in wireless communication and the Internet of Things (IoT). This integration included both hardware and software assets.

Whilst people can still use CSR's Harmony Wireless Software Stack, they may face compatibility and support issues with newer operating systems and devices. However, Qualcomm offers alternatives to the CSR Harmony Wireless Software Stack.

Qualcomm's Bluetooth and wireless technology solutions are integrated into its broader software ecosystem, providing updated and supported drivers and software for wireless connectivity. These alternatives are designed to be compatible with modern operating systems and devices, ensuring better performance, security, and support.

CSR played a crucial role in the advancement of wireless communication technologies, leaving a lasting impact on the industry. While it no longer operates as an independent entity, its legacy continues through Qualcomm's innovations. The CSR Harmony Wireless Software Stack, once a vital tool for enhancing Bluetooth functionalities, has seen decreased usage due to evolving technology standards and inherent software issues.

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