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Broadcom's new solution targets wireless stereo headsets

Posted: 15 Jul 2005 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:broadcom Bluetooth wireless? headset wireless stereo? data rate enhanced? edr zeevo?

Bluetooth wireless technology first made its presence known in cellphones and smart phones. With the advent of cheaper Bluetooth solutions, this technology is now finding use in other applications. One such application is in wireless stereo headsets. According to Scott Bibaud, Senior Director of Marketing for Broadcom Corp.'s Mobile and Wireless Group, Bluetooth wireless technology expanded in these devices to enable consumers to enjoy a convenient, un-tethered listening experience. "These wireless stereo headsets allow users to enjoy streaming music without the hassle that wires and cords bring," said Bibaud.

Market research firm In-Stat estimates that shipments of wireless headsets will grow to nearly 90 million units each year by 2008. It is only natural that companies, including Broadcom, will try to get the lion's share of this market. This fabless semiconductor firm has developed a single-chip Bluetooth solution specifically designed for wireless stereo headsets. The new chip features Bluetooth Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) capabilities that promises to provide superior audio fidelity and longer battery life.

"Our new BCM2037 chip truly moves the bar higher in terms of the required features for wireless stereo headsets, including advanced digital audio processing and EDR for longer batter life resulting in a much more satisfying user experience," Bibaud said.

From 1Mbps to 3Mbps
The Blutonium BCM2037 stereo headset IC includes a Bluetooth baseband and radio, as well as an architecture designed to provide one of the best audio experience possible. According to the company, this device is the first headset-specific chip available that includes EDR, a technology that triples the data rate of non-EDR Bluetooth chips from 1Mbps to 3Mbps. "The higher throughput significantly reduces power consumption by minimizing transmit times; thus increasing the battery life of headsets," explained Bibaud.

The new chip is the first product resulting from the company's acquisition of wireless audio specialist Zeevo Inc. The IC is powered by an on-board ARM7 processor, providing a familiar software development environment that allows manufacturers to easily port software from one product to another, thereby decreasing development time while improving time-to-market for their products.

Broadcom added that the higher data-rate of EDR provides other advantages such as a more robust connection between the headset and the host; the ability for a device based on the BCM2037 to connect and maintain simultaneous links to multiple Bluetooth enabled devices; the ability to stream stereo audio from a single source to multiple headsets; and the ability to transmit full, uncompressed stereo audio rather than imposing limits on the types of audio files that can be transmitted to the headset.

The BCM2037 is currently sampling to the company's early access partners with production availability scheduled in the third quarter of 2005. "So far, customer welcome for our BCM2037 has been very good," Bibaud said.

- Margarette Teodosio
Electronic Engineering Times-Asia

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