Tag: csr

ARM spearheads Internet of Things standard

Chip designer ARM has given its support to a Special Interest Group (SIG) with the aim of accelarating adoption for the open standards internet of things organisation Weightless.

Along with CSR, Neul, and Cable & Wireless Worldwide, ARM signed the SIG Promoter Agreement which provides some details on how the group plans to back Weightless’ mission for a new open standard, planned to be completed at the start of next year.

Weightless is a white space machine-to-machine (M2M) standards body based in Cambridge. It hopes to bring the industry together to push development for a new communication standard, also called Weightless, for M2M communications in white space, and is in the process of signing up members.

According to ARM, the SIG is a significant milestone in building a standard for M2M and the internet of things. It wants to be meet the demands of embedded intelligence everywhere, which it argues will create efficiencies by giving the world access to data along with the tools to use that data and act on it in a managed way.

As part of the plans, the group hopes to agree on a common set of standards including a chipset that costs under $2 with a range of up to 10km and a battery life of 10 years.

ARM CTO Mike Muller promoted his company’s designs as well positioned to bring about the technological changes necessary for the internet of things. “As data levels soar across the world, new ways need to be found to ensure wireless communication can be seamless,” Muller said. He finished by saying that with common standards, all will benefit from M2M, so ARM is excited about the potential of the standard.

Samsung snaps up CSR's mobile biz

Samsung has snapped up the mobile arm of British chip designer CSR in a deal worth $310 million.

According to a Samsung statement, the deal will help strengthen its position as a producer of mobile chips, leveraging CSR’s mobile connectivity and location technologies.

This deal will have Samsung picking up various patents to use in its own chips, and will also see 310 development staff shifting over from CSR – around 12 percent of its staff.

Samsung will also invest $34 million in CSR’s shares to strengthen the firm’s current financial position.  This has been somewhat precarious recently, but the news of the acquisition has seen shares soar.

CSR believes the deal will mean it can focus on five growth markets including, voice and music, automotive and bluetooth.

The transaction is expected to be completed during the final quarter of 2012 and should return $285 million to shareholders.

Speaking with TechEye, CSR’s CEO Joep Van Buerden said the company’s “location and connectivity product and team is cutting edge but stand-alone too small a piece of the handset puzzle to compete with the giants that have the whole jigsaw”.

“The deal will accelerate our transformation into a higher gross margin platform company operating in attractive growth markets where we have a leading market position,” Van Buerden said.

He added that the mobile arm is “far more valuable in Samsung’s hands than in CSR’s.”

Huawei talks up corporate responsibility

Huawei is trying to shake off its bad boy reputation and paint itself as a good Samaritan.  

The company has released a corporate social responsibility (CSR) report, which gives an overall review of its commitments and practices with regard to what it’s expected to do.

This includes putting in place fair operations plans, practising ongoing environmental protection and bridging the digital divide. It’s also gone as far as offering  community support for staff who feel left out or are having difficulties in the work place, it says.

Of course this isn’t the first time the company attempted charm.

Earlier this year it bowed down to the US following security fears, writing a special letter where it praised the values of the country and democracy. Read between the lines and it was praising high-profile infrastructure contracts.

The US was sorely mistaken, it said, with misconceptions about the Chinese company still rife.

Meanwhile, today it has said it will invest around $120-$150 million to set up its own R&D campus in Whitefield, Bangalore, and it’s not wasting any time.

Huawei wants work to begin on the campus in  mid-July, and the overall project is expected to be ready by early 2013.

Although it has R&D centres in Sweden, Italy, Turkey, the US and the UK, they’re rented or leased, meaning that there are restrictions on what it can do.

The Indian basewill be the first outside of China of its very own, and the company has big plans for it.

The plot is said to be around 20 acres, and as well as including the factories and centres, which will focus on designing mobile phones and set top boxes, there will also be one million square feet of built-up area that will accommodate 3500-4000 people. Party on, Huawei Campus.
 
It hasn’t faced any objection from environmental, aviation, water supply, and fire safety bodies. 

Ex-CSR guys create a new Bluetooth

They’ve called it Weightless and it’s a new radio technology which the founders hope could prove to be bigger than Bluetooth. Well, given the people at Neul are mostly ex-CSR guys, you’d kind of expect that.

The problem is with pigeon-holing this stuff. It’s a wireless data network and it operates in free spectrum. Just like Bluetooth. But it’s wide range – like WiMAX. Only it’s built for the low data rates require for M2M [Machine-to-machine] applications.

 

Weightless relies entirely on a radio spectrum called ‘white space’. That’s the gaps in the TV broadcasting spectrum which nobody is using at the time. A concept originally pioneered by teletext.

 

The big difference is that – given a steep hill and a strong wind behind you – it would be possible to get 16 Mbit/s out of Weightless.

 

That’s not what it has really been designed for, though. The company is targetting M2M applications which require miniscule amounts of data. So that thousands of devices can be supported by a single base station.

 

And there’s the rub. Neul is banking on companies or organisations rolling out the necessary infrastructure to create a viable Weightless network. They reckon that with something like 6,000 base stations you could cover the whole of the UK. And hit 99 per cent of homes.

 

The bit where Neul got a bit hazy was with the chipsets needed to build a Weightless capablity into a communication device. And for M2M applications, battery life would have to be at least five years.

 

The company says the chipsets should cost $5 by 2012 and drop down to $1 by 2015. Given their Bluetooth heritage, such economies of scales are feasible.

 

What’s our take on Weightless? It could go either way. If the technology could get sufficient support, it became eponymous just like Bluetooth.

Or it could go the same way as a UK technology known as Messenger which required a national radio network which nobody used because BlackBerry (RIM) did it better using existing cellular infrastructure.

 

Our gut feeling is that Weightless is a goer. But maybe not in the form which Neul envisages. Plus we have no idea why they picked Weightless as its moniker. Perhaps it was the name of an ancient king of Cambridge?

Nokia sales warning hits suppliers

Nokia’s shares have plummeted, following a warning that sales for the quarter are likely to be well short of the €6.6 billion it was predicting, and causing a knock-on effect on the company’s suppliers.

While Nokia’s still the biggest smartphone manufacturer in the world, its market share is falling. And its announcement that it’s to discontinue the Symbian operating system has been seen as a little premature, given that it still has to bring any Windows Phone models to market. It expects to start shipping these in the fourth quarter this year.

In the meantime, the company says, operating margins from April to June will be “substantially below” the six to nine percent it was previously forecasting.

And the announcement is bad news, too, for Nokia’s suppliers. The company’s one of the biggest customers for chipmaker CSR, for example, and is now one of the biggest losers on the FTSE exchange.

According to Reuters, Numis analysts have now slashed their recommendation on the company from “buy” to “add”.

“CSR should benefit from some other customers like Samsung gaining share from Nokia and RIM in smartphones, however this is not likely to completely offset the severe pressure in the feature phone category, where CSR generates the majority of its handset revenues,” it says.

ARM, too, is feeling the pain. Its shares have also dived, and are now hovering at around 557p. This’ll be a big disappointment for the company, one would imagine, as it must have hoped that this week’s sneak preview of  Windows 8 – which will run on ARM’s architecture – would have given things a bit of a boost.

Cambridge Wireless debates privacy for location based services

Cambridge Wireless has announced that it will host a discussion with experts in the field of communications regarding the debate over privacy issues surrounding location based apps.

With many smartphones now having inbuilt GPS, coupled with the rise of applications that make use of the location capability of such GPS technology, there are a number of implications for personal privacy that need to be highlighted.

While apps developed, including Foursquare, can be exciting for users, they also open up a new set of challenges for personal safety that Cambridge Wireless, an industry forum and community, wants to address.

See here for a 101 on how easy it is to get stalking on Foursquare.

“The latest in the series of Location SIG events examines the privacy trade-off for users of social networks and advanced smart-phone applications where location information is shared,” said Nigel Wall, Shadow Creek Consulting and SIG Champion for the event.

“The risks and opportunities rise significantly when location information is shared. We shall consider the issues from various perceptions: users, suppliers and legislation.”

Cambrdge Wireless will be working in conjunction with wireless technology company CSR and the Cultures of the Digital Economy (CoDE) Research Institute at Anglia Ruskin University to discuss a range of topics including whether location technology creates real threats to personal privacy; whether users need to understand what is collected and how their movements could be tracked; image recognition, and best practices.

“This current and sensitive topic will prove interesting and thought–provoking for many.”

The event will take place on the 23rd of March. For more information see here.

Cambridge's CSR buys Zoran

CSR has signed on the dotted line to buy Zoran Corporation, a move that will allow the British chipmaker to add imaging and video to its wifi, bluetooth and location technology offerings.

The deal with the American company will set CSR back around $679 million. It has also been proposed that Zoran shareholders should  receive 1.85 shares in CSR in the form of American Depository shares for each Zoran share. In addition, CSR has said that it will aim to return up to $240 million to shareholders in a share buyback scheme.

For its dough CSR will get Zoran’s integrated technology, which offers location-aware multimedia features for devices including handsets, digital cameras and home entertainment equipment.

By merging these features with its technology CSR hopes to allow users to stream images from their camera to their PC or video conferencing from a Smartphone.  CSR said in a statement that the merge will also “provide a step change in CSR’s total scale and addressable market, creating a top 10 fabless semiconductor company.”

Joep van Beurden, CEO of CSR, said: “This is an exciting transaction on both a strategic and financial level.  Digital electronic devices are becoming increasingly connected and full of media-rich features, including the ability to stream images from your camera to your PC or video conferencing from your smartphone.” It’s that integration, again. 

CSR thinks that, combined with the share buyback scheme, the transaction should be double digit accretive in 2012.

CSR and WiLAN sign patent agreement

Wireless technology licensing company WiLAN and chippy producers of low energy bluetooth and others CSR have given up the ghost, finally coming to an agreement that will stop all current litigation.

The deal will now be settled out of court. Financial terms have not been disclosed, but CSR is set for signing a mutli-icensing agreement to access WiLAN’s patent portfolio. WiLAN had previously shouted at tech companies for infringing on one of its patents, related to Bluetooth. The litigation agreement came to a close at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas.

CSR’s main beat is Bluetooth and chips.

WiLAN expects a definitive agreement to be signed over the coming weeks. The licence arrangements were signed through a memorandum of understanding and will last for a “multi-year” timeframe. 

WiLAN has, it says, over 1,100 issued or pending patents. 

CSR invades world and watches with low energy Bluetooth chip

Chip company CSR is readying low energy Bluetooth tech which is going to be, basically, everywhere. That’s from hospitals and the gym right the way down to your pocket watch.

The chips,  produced at TSMC, are the key to integrated technologies. A concept model on show linked a prototype Android smartphone with a Casio NEC wrist watch – and the low energy Bluetooth means there are new and exciting ways to ignore phonecalls or emails.

PRs are going to love it – if an email comes through, you check your wrist, and it displays from your phone who the message is from. If it’s important, that is to say, not a journalist with an urgent question, go ahead and check your phone, if it’s not, forget about it. Likewise with phone calls. An alarm will begin ringing on the watch if you’re getting a call and display the caller ID straight from your smartphone – if you want to ignore it, double tap your watch and it’s gone.

Likewise, for the clumsy and forgetful, the watch synchronises with your phone. If you misplace it – hit a button on your watch and an alarm begins playing. It’s low energy so it can go as long as you need to, and the watch tells you how far away you are from your phone too, like playing a bizarre game of hide and seek with yourself, it’ll tell you if you’re hot or cold. 

The chip has all sorts of applications and CSR tells TechEye that the team expects its technology to be basically everywhere. Since integration is the word of the year so far – with Bada, smart TVs and similar – a low energy option really needs to be available so you can sync up all your devices. Even a heart rate monitor can sync up and send data to the cloud. So your gym instructor knows you haven’t been eating chips by the handful.

Though CSR could not even give a nod as to which manufacturers will be plugging what, CSR says the chips will be commercially available late this year and early next year. For official health applications with hospitals, the approval process is longer but the next few years sounds about right. Reception has been positive and everyone seems keen to get going.

TechEye asked if CSR is rich, then. The response? With the CSR8000 Synergy for Android and its range of technologies, “we’re going to be a lot richer.”

CSR announces CSR8600 wireless consumer audio platform

Wireless chip firm CSR has announced the CSR8600 wireless consumer audio platform, which it claims will offer superior high-fidelity audio quality for integrated system-on-chip devices.

The CSR8600 platform packs a small form factor and a high performance audio processing enegine, with flexible memory architecture for internal flash memory or ROM, while also supporting external serial flash memory.

Low power consumption and power efficiency are key features of the platform, thanks to its ultra-low-power DSP architecture, power supply subsystem, efficient memory system, and a reduction in process node geometry. Add in multiple switching power supplies, low drop-out regulators and a new battery charger architecture and it promises to be super efficient.

It will support advanced and low energy Bluetooth, as well as CSR’s aptX audio technology, which provides high-fidelity stereo over low latencies. Clear Voice Capture is also supported, allowing for acoustic echo and noise cancellation.

CSR intends to introduce a range of integrated single-chip products that will make use of the new platform, including next-generation TVs, connected home entertainment systems, wired and wireless speaks, tablets, PCs and mobile connectivity applications.

The CSR8600 platform will also be backwards compatible with the CSR BlueCore5-Multimedia platform, which will allow users of CSR eXtension products to switch to the new platform more easily.

Samples of the product are currently being offered to large customers and it will be available for retail towards the middle of 2011.