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Date: 03-03-13

Nordic Semiconductor Bluetooth chips used in remote control toys

Toy maker Joybien has manufactured a model car demonstrator to illustrate how toy makers can bridge the gap between 2.4GHz proprietary remote control and the lucrative Bluetooth v4.0-based appcessory market - without increasing costs in what is a very price-sensitive sector. Joybien has used Nordic Semiconductor's low power Bluetooth wireless chips to link remote control and the base toy.

The demonstrator––first shown at the giant Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas in the second week of January––comprised an iPhone and a 1:14 scale Lamborghini Reventon Roadster. Using an app from the Apple App Store running on the smartphone, the toy Lamborghini was wirelessly remotely controlled around the exhibition floor.

The iPhone employs a Bluetooth v4.0 chip and is Bluetooth Smart Ready, ensuring it is interoperable with any Bluetooth Smart-qualified product. The Bluetooth smart Lamborghini is equipped with a Nordic nRF51822 Bluetooth low energy/2.4GHz proprietary multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) . A Bluetooth low energy radio is a prerequisite for a Bluetooth Smart product.

Nordic says the nRF51822 allows toy manufacturers to bring products to market that can simultaneously and adaptively support Bluetooth low energy and 2.4GHz proprietary wireless technology in the same product form factor, using identical data formats over the wireless link to minimize design complexity, and without requiring any firmware changes. This offers developers a high level of commercial protection against future consumer technology trends by allowing them to offer a maximum range of alternative options to their customers, according to Nordic.

“Nordic’s partnership with Joybien demonstrates how the nRF51822 provides the perfect bridge between low-cost 2.4GHz proprietary radio control systems––that are currently typical of the remote control toy market––and the interoperability promised by Bluetooth Smart,” says Geir Langeland, Director of Sales & Marketing for Nordic Semiconductor. “But perhaps more importantly, the nRF51822, allied to our remote control sample application, also provides a bridge between two very important market segments, toys and appcessories.”

“Joybien has wide experience of the proprietary radio remote control toy market,” says Larry Hsieh, CEO of Joybien. “However, when we wanted to develop a product using Bluetooth low energy we knew we needed to partner with an expert in this new technology. And there is no better expert than a company that was instrumental in the development of the Bluetooth low energy specification and has followed that up with the launch of an easy-to-design in Bluetooth low energy SoC, the nRF51822.”

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