MOBILE WIRELESS chip specialist CSR has launched a range of products that will allow handsets and other devices to take advantage of high definition (HD) audio voice calls and an emerging class of low energy Bluetooth products.
Orange and Three are the first UK operators to roll out a wideband audio service that doubles the usual maximum 4KHz bandwidth used on voice calls to give an appreciable boost in quality.
"We expect other networks to follow suit so that the technology will be widely deployed in Europe and America," said Tim Palmer, product manager in CSR's mobile handset division,
The current generation of handset chips supports only 4KHz bandwidth over Bluetooth for voice calls, though more bandwidth is available for streaming music, which does not need to be bi-directional and is not as sensitive to latency in the link. The CSR8000 range supports 8KHz for voice, enabling it to carry the HD service.
It is the first CSR device to support both standard Bluetooth and Bluetooth Low-Energy (LE), part of the recently-introduced version 4.0 of the standard. It is designed for low-bitrate links with devices capable of running for months on a single button battery.
Palmer foresees an explosion of applications for Bluetooth LE, including watches that notify you of phone calls, car doors you can close by mobile phones, heart monitors and other body sensors, and handset-based TV remote controls.
It can be also used as a proximity sensor, sounding an alarm if for instance you leave a laptop in a taxi, or locking your PC when you move away from it.
There are four initial versions of the chip tailored for different classes of device - the 8810 and 8811 for handsets, satnavs and media players, plus the 8510 for tablets, laptops and PCs as well as the 8311 for use in vehicles.
The chips include a digital signal-processor allowing developers to support enhanced audio features such as APT-X.
Future versions of the product will support CVC noise-cancellation to facilitate the use of phones in noisy environments, an FM receiver incorporating noise reduction and an FM transmitter for beaming audio to a car radio.
CSR says the products are already being incorporated into products, some of which should be on sale relatively soon. µ