Nordic Semiconductor announces that it is sampling the first member of its next generation nRF52 Series of ultra-low power wireless solutions – the nRF52832 System-on-Chip (SoC). The nRF52832 redefines the single-chip Bluetooth Smart category by marrying barrier-breaking performance to power efficiency. It also features a unique on-chip NFC tag for consumer-friendly Touch-to-Pair, and offers new levels of design flexibility unmatched by any existing Bluetooth Smart solution.
“Current single-chip Bluetooth Smart solutions are struggling to keep up with the rate of innovation in Bluetooth Smart––the fastest growing wireless market in history––particularly in applications such as wearables and IoT,” says Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Product Management. “The main reason being that until now greater performance could only be achieved at the expense of power efficiency. The nRF52 Series uniquely merges barrier-breaking performance and power efficiency together on a Bluetooth Smart single chip for the first time.”
The nRF52832 features 64MHz ARM Cortex-M4F processor, 512kB Flash and 64kB RAM, a best-in-class ultra-high performance, ultra-low power multi-protocol Bluetooth Smart, ANT, and proprietary 2.4GHz radio with -96dB RX sensitivity, 5.5mA peak RX/TX currents, and an on-chip RF Balun. A unique fully-automatic power management system also makes achieving optimal power consumption easy for designers. Built on a cutting-edge 55nm process, the nRF52832 includes 6 x 6mm QFN and miniature 3.0 x 3.2mm CSP packaging options. Development Kits, QFN samples, software and documentation are available, and volume production is scheduled for December 2015.
With a EEMBC 215 CoreMark score the nRF52832 delivers up to 60 percent more generic processing power––plus thanks to its on-chip ARM Cortex-M4F an additional 10X the Floating Point and 2X the DSP performance––compared to competing ARM Cortex-M0/M3 based Bluetooth Smart SoC solutions. And at 90 CoreMark/mA the SoC is up to 2X as power efficient as competing solutions.
The nRF52832 also includes a full range of on-chip analog and digital peripherals for glueless interfacing to external components such as sensors, displays, touch controllers, LEDs, keypads, motors, digital microphones, and audio Codecs. This makes it an ideal single-chip solution for wearables, human interface devices such as remote controllers, toys, smart home devices and appliances, and wireless charging.
The nRF52832’s higher processor performance enables developers to make their products more attractive to consumers, including adding new features and improving the user experience. The single-chip integration supports smaller products and a lower BOM. The increased power efficiency supports greater battery life and/or the use of smaller, lighter batteries, and makes the nRF52832 an ideal solution for applications powered by energy-harvesting. And the best-in-class radio performance supports up to 2X the connection reliability, robustness to interference, range, and data throughput––all minimizing packet loss and tech support issues––plus greater network topology and protocol complexity, and advanced security features.
“With the launch of the nRF52832, the first member of our nRF52 Series, we are completely pushing the envelope for what’s possible with single-chip Bluetooth Smart,” continues Bonnerud. “Applications that require the sort of processing power and performance that we now pack into this chip have until now had to use a two-chip solution as there was previously no Bluetooth Smart single-chip alternative.”
“The Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832 is the single chip the Bluetooth Smart market is crying out for and we hope it will free developers to be even more creative when developing Bluetooth Smart products and applications.”
The nRF52832 incorporates a powerful Cortex-M4F processor enabling the most demanding applications with complex arithmetic requirements to be realized in a single chip solution. The IC supports DSP instructions, a Floating Point Unit (FPU), single-cycle multiply and accumulate, and hardware divide for energy-efficient process of computationally complex operations.
The 2.4GHz radio supports multiple protocols including Bluetooth Smart, ANT and 2.4GHz proprietary. The radio has high definition RSSI and highly automated functionality, including EasyDMA for direct memory access during packet send and retrieve. Nordic provides protocol stacks for Bluetooth Smart, ANT and Gazel (2.4GHz) as software downloads.
The nRF52832 SoC is an extremely power efficient device that can run from a supply between 1.7V and 3.6V. All individual peripherals and clocks offer complete flexibility of power down when not required for task operation thus minimizing power consumption to a minimum. The IC has a comprehensive system of automated and adaptive power management features. These features range across the entire IC’s operation from power supply switching to peripheral bus/EasyDMA memory management, to automated shut down of all but the absolute essential peripherals required to perform a task.
On-Chip NFC Tag
NFC-A tag support is included on chip. Out-of-Band (OOB) pairing using NFC simplifies the process of authenticated pairing between two Bluetooth devices by exchanging authentication information over an NFC link.
Source: Nordic Semiconductor