Bluetooth is finally reaching the million-piece volumes that members of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) foresaw more than five years ago. Some of the widespread acceptance is due to the diminishing costs of Bluetooth integrated circuits (ICs), and some is due to the availability of highly integrated solutions. In the case of latest Bluetooth ICs from Cambridge Silicon Radio (Cambridge, England), both factors apply. The company's BlueCore3 family of products represents a third-generation (3G) development, fully compliant with the latest version of the Bluetooth standard (Version 1.2) and designed for low-power operation at +1.8 VDC.

The BlueCore3 family represents the first complete implementation of the 2.4-GHz Bluetooth Version 1.2 standard. The new ICs include the BlueCore3-Multimedia chip and the BlueCore3-ROM chip. The former includes user-programmable digital-signal-processing (DSP) circuitry while the latter is designed to be a lower-power replacement for the company's second-generation (2G) BlueCore2-ROM chip (using 18 percent less power than its predecessor).

Both Bluetooth radio ICs are designed to provide as much as +6-dBm transmitter power with an on-chip 6-b digital-to-analog converter (DAC) for 30-dB dynamic power control. The on-chip receiver (which operates in a near-zero- IF mode) features integrated channel filters digital demodulator, and digitized received-signal-strength-indication (RSSI) function for real-time control.

Both Bluetooth ICs feature advanced baseband and logic circuitry that includes a memory management unit (MMU), burst-mode controller (BMC), 32 kB of random-access memory (RAM), 4 Mb of read-only memory (ROM), Universal Serial Bus (USB) and synchronous serial-port interfaces, universal asynchronous receiver transmitter (UART) interface, audio pulse-code-modulation (PCM) interface, and on-chip RISC microcontroller. Both ICs have an on-chip linear regulator that produces +1.8 VDC when supplied with +2.2- to +4.2-VDC inputs.

The BlueCore3-Multimedia chip is available in a 10 × 10-mm, 96-ball LFBGA package. The BlueCore3-ROM solution can be supplied in a 4 × 4-mm chip-scale package (CSP) as well as in RF Plug & Go and ball-grid-array (BGA) packages. The RF Plug & Go package integrates impedance-matching circuitry for connection to an antenna. Cambridge Silicon Radio, Cambridge Science Park, Milton Rd., Cambridge CB4 0WH, England; (44) (0) 1223-692-000, FAX: (44) (0) 1223-692-001, e-mail: sales@csr.com, Internet: www.csr.com.