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Ultra-low power wireless SoCs slash power consumption, free designers from proprietary software frameworks

June 28, 2012 // Paul Buckley

Ultra-low power wireless SoCs slash power consumption, free designers from proprietary software frameworks

Nordic Semiconductor ASA has unveiled the first members of the company's new nRF51 Series of ultra-low power (ULP) RF integrated circuits (ICs) that feature a new multi-protocol 2.4 GHz radio and a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 based processor.

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Nordic's novel software architecture for Bluetooth low energy and ANT System-on-Chip (SoC) solutions frees designers from the integration effort, complexities, and restrictions of chip vendor-supplied software frameworks and instead allows customers to develop their designs quickly and easily using the highly popular and familiar ARM Cortex programming environment.

This major benefit is achieved by using a new and novel software architecture featuring a powerful separation between protocol stack and user application code. This separation provides developers a clean boundary between application and protocol stack, and removes the need to struggle with integration of application code as part of a vendor-imposed application development framework. Code development is now simplified and accelerated and at the same time risks associated with integration of application and stack code are significantly reduced. Customers can expect lower bug rates and improved robustness for their applications.

With the launch of the Nordic Semiconductor nRF51 Series, developing applications based on class-leading devices from any of the three main ULP wireless sub-categories - Bluetooth low energy, ANT / ANT+, and 2.4 GHz proprietary RF - has never been so straightforward or accessible to the widest possible range of developers.

The first two Flash-based ICs to debut in the new nRF51 Series are the nRF51822 multi-protocol Bluetooth low energy / 2.4 GHz proprietary RF SoC, and the nRF51422 - the world's first ANT SoC.

Thomas Embla Bonnerud, Director of Product Management at Nordic Semiconductor, said: "Our new multi-protocol radio combined with the ARM Cortex-M0 based processor not only slashes power consumption, but also significantly improves performance and available processing power, and also extends the range of applications we can cover with our new SoC solutions. We have also taken a completely novel approach with our software architecture for Bluetooth low energy and ANT SoCs that accelerates product development and lowers risks by offering developers unprecedented flexibility, ease-of-use, and code safety."


nRF51822 and nRF51422 are sampling to lead customers now. General availability is scheduled for early September 2012 and mass production is scheduled for Q4 2012.

Nordic will continue to introduce additional ICs and protocol stacks for the nRF51 Series expanding customer's choices of memory size, package types, serial interfaces, mixed signal peripherals, and wireless connectivity.

Visit Nordic Semiconductor at


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