Imagination introduces IP to “supercharge” next-gen audio

Bluetooth Low Energy (LE) IP from Imagination Technologies supports Bluetooth 5.2. iEB110 includes RF, controller software and a Bluetooth LE host stack. It uses the popular open-source Zephyr and Cordio host stacks and what Imagination describes as a rich set of profiles, it offers reduced integration and development costs, resulting in a quicker time to market, says the company.

The iEB110 IP is designed for integration into complex communication SoCs and is claimed to combine high performance, efficient RF, with optimum silicon area and external bill of materials (BoM). The iEB110 architecture allows seamless integration with Imagination’s Wi-Fi IP to create cost-effective, multi-standard, wireless communication SoCs.

iEB110 takes advantage of the new Low Complexity Communication Codec (LC3) and efficient software algorithm to deliver clear audio at the lowest power. This enables manufacturers to create small form factor, low power audio devices such as ear buds and discrete hearing aids.

According to Imagination, the addition of low-energy audio in v5.2 is not just another incremental feature update by the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG), it is “a revolutionary step, which will transform the way we consume and share audio for many years to come”.

iEB110 supports Bluetooth 5.2 features such as angle of arrival/angle of departure (AoA / AoD) allowing sub one metre location and tracking accuracy, low energy, long range operation for extended indoor and outdoor coverage and LE-2M PHY for higher throughput.

 Nick Hunn, chair of the Bluetooth SIG Hearing Aid Working Group, said: “Originally conceived by hearing aid companies, low-energy audio has grown into one of the largest development efforts in the Bluetooth SIG’s history, laying down specifications to support the next 20 years of wireless audio innovation.”

Andrew Zignani, principal analyst, ABI Research, believes: “With the addition of audio support in BLE, the market . . . will gain a number of new opportunities, which have traditionally been using Bluetooth Classic or proprietary radios. In less than three years, annual Bluetooth Audio device shipments are expected to reach more than 1.2 billion . . . a complete Bluetooth Low Energy IP, such as the iEB110, will accelerate the implementation of the next-generation of broadcast audio, high-quality multi-stream audio, and audio sharing applications.”

iEB110 is supplied as a complete IP, comprising RF, controller, and host stack, Bluetooth SIG certification and FCC and CE RF compliance.

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