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Marvell hops aboard Apple's smart home train

Posted: 04 Jun 2014 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:smart home? API? Apple? Marvell?

No ZigBee in iPhones?

When asked if iPhoneswhich aren't equipped with ZigBeecould pose a problem in using an iOS device as a remote controller, Doherty said, "ZigBee is just a wireless protocol." He explained that many radios can be software configured for the data rate of ZigBee for MFi-based networks.

He added, "I mean, we are not talking continuous audio, we are talking the 'washing machine-is-done' level bursts, or 'lower-thermostat-and-verify-command' receipt." He predicts that MFi could also support novel communication protocols, wired and wireless"possibly also light and laser modulation and receiving." Marvell's Poulidis noted, "You just need a WiFi bridge."

Marvell's Bluetooth-based solution is a "low-power, small-footprint, Bluetooth, dualmode SoC," according to Poulidis, designed to concurrently support both Bluetooth classic and Bluetooth low-energy. Marvell emphasizes that it supports "built-in voice capability" for remote and wearable applications. Targeted products include fitness bracelets and door locks.

Marvell boasts that the new Bluetooth-based IoT SoC, dubbed MB300, integrated with ARM Cortex-M4 MCU and embedded flash in a single package, comes with "low sleep and active power with innovative power management."

Marvell is also rolling out a WiFi microcontroller called MW300. The company calls it "the industry's first true single-chip SoC with 802.11n WiFi and full-featured MCU." It is designed to enable "audio and video streaming in any IoT device via a Cortex-M4F CPU with DSP and Floating point support, large SRAM, and high-speed USB 2.0 OTG interface supporting USB Video (UVC) and Audio (UAC)."

Marvell has already launched a ZigBee-based IoT SoC, called MZ100. The chip is in production with 40 nm process technology, which is "two generations ahead" of its competitors, according to Poulidis. The company claims its best coexistence performance with WiFi and Bluetooth, based on a 10+dB link-budge margin over the competition.


Figure 3: What's inside Marvell's EZ-connect software. Source: Marvell

The MZ100, based on ARM Cortex-M3 MCU, comes with a complete software stack and support for 6LoWPAN. Poulidis says he is expecting the MZ100 to bring immediate value to such products as smart lighting and thermostats. "They are low-hanging fruit for us."

- Junko Yoshida
??EE Times

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