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Nordic Semiconductor Launches Reference Design for Bluetooth Smart Beacons

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Nordic Semiconductor ASA

Skøyen, Oslo, 0213, Norway

Original Press Release

Nordic Semiconductor Launches Reference Design for Bluetooth Smart Beacons

Press release date: April 8, 2014

OSLO, Norway -

The 'nRF51822 Bluetooth Smart Beacon Kit' is based on Nordic's multiple award-winning and class-leading nRF51822 SoC. This reference design allows demonstration and development of iBeacon and proprietary beacon hardware for iOS and Android smartphones to be developed quickly and easily.

Ultralow power (ULP) RF specialist Nordic Semiconductor ASA (OSE: NOD) today announces the release of a reference design for Bluetooth® Smart beacons based on Nordic's multiple award-winning and class-leading nRF51822 multiprotocol Bluetooth Smart and proprietary 2.4GHz System-on-Chip (SoC). Bluetooth Smart beacons are low-cost, low-power Bluetooth low energy wireless transmitters that can advertise their location to Bluetooth Smart Ready smartphones in close proximity.

The nRF51822 Beacon Kit allows developers and engineers to develop their own beacon applications using Apple's iBeacon™ standards, or create their own beacons based on their own specifications using Bluetooth Smart. This kit is an ideal starting point for OEMs and ODMs to begin development of beacon hardware to be used together with associated back-end services that they will typically offer as complete beacon solutions to their customers.

The kit works straight out of the box with companion smartphone apps for iOS and Android (4.1/4.3) smartphones. The firmware is available as source code from Nordic and allows example beacon scenarios to be set up quickly and easily to test out product ideas. This kit leverages the ability of the nRF51822 SoC to support full Over-The-Air Device Firmware Upgrade (OTA-DFU) enabling all beacon firmware to be updated in-situ in a transparent manner.

The nRF51822 Beacon Kit employs Nordic-developed hardware, firmware, and software and supports both iOS 7 and Android (4.3/4.1) operating systems. As each brand and model of smartphone exhibits different RSSI levels (due to electromagnetic variations stemming from, for example, the individual casing enclosure or antenna employed) the nRF51822 Beacon Kit has a tuning function that allows consistent performance regardless of phone model.

"Beacons represent a use case that has an immediate draw to the commercial world," comments Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Nordic Semiconductor's Director of Product Management. "Marketing has become progressively more directed and personalized over the last few years and the use of beacons takes that shift a stage further. For instance, consumers can now be made aware, in real time, of items they need to make a recipe, of special offers on products, and whether items are in stock. The possibilities are limitless. Additionally, contextual awareness can be brought to environments such as museums and railway stations where individuals have a need to pick up location-based information.

"Nordic Semiconductor has always led the field in cutting-edge application support for developers with ultra low power wireless. With the nRF51822 Beacon kit we are continuing that track record for Bluetooth Smart beacons."

The nRF51822 Bluetooth Smart Beacon Kit includes one beacon and full access to software and design files. It is available from April 8 and will retail for $29.95.

Contact Nordic Semiconductor for more information.

"iBeacon" is a registered trademark of Apple Inc.

Nordic Semiconductor

Contact: Contact: Anne Strand, anne.strand@nordicsemi.no, +47-97163752

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