Electronic enthusiast.com reports (Wen / Mo Tingting) after optimization, low-power Bluetooth technology has greatly reduced the power consumption of devices, and is widely used in wearable devices such as smart watches and TWS headsets. In 2019, Huawei released the smart watch Huawei GT2, which is equipped with a new Kirin A1 chip. This is also the world’s first dual-mode Bluetooth 5.1 standard wearable chip, which brings new industrial application points: dual-mode Bluetooth chips have been applied to smart watches; On the other hand, the emergence of Le audio also brings new opportunities to the Bluetooth audio market.
With the growth of market demand, Bluetooth technology has been applied to more innovative products. The Bluetooth Technology Alliance predicts that by 2026, the annual shipment of Bluetooth device network devices is expected to reach 1.2 billion.
So, what iterations will Bluetooth chips usher in when segmented into the wearable device market? What new strategies do chip manufacturers have to deal with the changes in the demand of the terminal market? Electronic enthusiast network communicated and discussed relevant issues with Winton, vice president of Fengjia microelectronics, marketing manager of furiqun, and director of Juxin technology products.
Bluetooth technology of smart watch changes from single mode to dual mode
Bluetooth technology supports a variety of radio options, including classic Bluetooth, low-power Bluetooth and dual mode (classic Bluetooth + low-power Bluetooth /classic+le). Low power Bluetooth chips are growing very fast, but the original stock market of dual-mode Bluetooth chips is huge. In addition, new dual-mode applications are emerging, especially in the application of TWS headphones. The dual-mode Bluetooth market is still growing. Vice president of Fengjia microelectronics believes that the future switching between dual-mode Bluetooth and single-mode low-power Bluetooth will be affected by many factors, such as the pace of mobile phone generation, the market acceptance of audio over ble, and so on.
With the increase of smart watch functions, this category has become one of the fastest-growing products in smart wearable devices. Therefore, the application of Bluetooth data transmission in smart watches has also increased. At present, dual-mode Bluetooth chip has become a new development direction of Bluetooth technology application in smart watches. One of the most interesting examples is Huawei’s smart watch Huawei GT2, which is the world’s first dual-mode Bluetooth 5.1 standard wearable chip. It supports bt/ble dual-mode working mode, can realize ultra-high speed Bluetooth data transmission, and has the advantages of stable connection and low power consumption.
Why does Bluetooth chip of smart watch need dual-mode support? The product director of torch core technology mentioned that before this, the main functions of smart watches were motion algorithm and health algorithm, and low-power Bluetooth single-mode chip can meet these basic needs. Later, due to the demand for Bluetooth calls and the need for watches to push songs to TWS headsets, the classic Bluetooth function needs to be added, which also requires Bluetooth dual-mode chips, such as Huawei gt2/gt3 series high-end smart watches.
However, the original Bluetooth dual-mode is a dual-chip solution, and the smart watch has higher space requirements, which makes the dual-chip design more difficult. Now we are all talking about the dual-mode single chip scheme. The design difficulty is reduced, the design space is smaller, and the space left for the battery is larger, so as to improve the endurance.
The dual-mode single Bluetooth chip has ushered in new development opportunities, but not all Bluetooth chip manufacturers can easily step into the dual-mode Bluetooth chip circuit. Winton, the marketing manager of Fu Ruikun, told the reporters of e-enthusiast.com, “the dilemma of the dual-mode Bluetooth single chip is that the traditional ble manufacturers do not have the technology accumulation of classic Bluetooth when they join the circuit, and it is difficult for the traditional audio Bluetooth manufacturers to reduce the ble power consumption when they join the circuit.”.
In order to meet the needs of smart watch application technology, more and more manufacturers have launched single-chip solutions that support dual-mode Bluetooth, such as Fu Ruikun and Ju Xin. Among them, Fu Ruikun launched the industry’s first dual-mode Bluetooth fr508x as early as 2020, and took the lead in proposing the solution of dual-mode Bluetooth single-chip smart call watch; Winton introduced that fr508x has five advantages: first, dual-mode Bluetooth single chip, which is highly integrated; Second, ultra-low power consumption and ultra long standby; Third, support Bluetooth calls and Bluetooth audio playback; Fourth, support local audio playback and watch push songs to TWS headphones; Fifth, support offline speech recognition. At present, the SOC of furikun’s dual-mode Bluetooth watch has been shipped in large quantities. In terms of new products, Fu Ruikun is developing the fourth generation wearable chip, which is expected to be launched this year.
For the smart watch market, Torson Technology launched the dual-mode Bluetooth watch chip ats3085 in 2021. The product director of Torson technology introduced to the reporter that ats3085 is based on the dual-core heterogeneous architecture of mcu+dsp, with graphics acceleration engine, sensorhub module, power management unit, etc., and the UI interface can support up to 466* [email protected] The refresh rate of the smart watch perfectly matches the smooth display of the smart watch with the ultra-low power consumption. It is expected to achieve mass production in the middle of this year.
Enable differentiation mode! Diversified product forms bring new challenges of low power consumption and high quality
At present, there are still many potential business opportunities for Bluetooth chips in the field of consumer electronics. Manufacturers are also constantly creating new sub products to gain greater competitiveness in the highly competitive Bluetooth chip track. Whether it is a smart watch or other smart terminal devices, the technical iteration of Bluetooth chip must be mutually promoted with market applications. Voice AI, health monitoring of epidemic outbreak and other applications around users’ experience will continue to be smart wearable devices and will continue to be the direction of future generations. After the explosion of the meta universe concept, ar/vr devices and smart glasses have become new product forms. Ar/vr will put forward new high requirements for Bluetooth indicators such as low delay data transmission and ultra-low power consumption.
The vice president of Fengjia microelectronics mentioned that there are two main lines for the development of Bluetooth technology in the future: one is the extreme low power consumption and performance; Second, targeted technology upgrades are made for specific application markets, such as the launch of audio over ble for TWS applications.
It can be seen that low-power technology is also a necessary competitiveness to join the Bluetooth chip track. In 2020, fengjiawei launched a new generation of Bluetooth chip product phy6222, which is equipped with 32-bit high-performance MCU, supports ble 5.2 function and zigbeecompliantplatform communication protocol, integrates a high-performance multi-mode RF transceiver with ultra-low power consumption, and the receiving sensitivity reaches – [email protected] 1Mbps。 At the same time, phy6252 has the advantage of ultra-low BOM and high cost performance. At present, Fengjia micro Bluetooth chips have obvious advantages in RF performance, power consumption, hardware resource configuration and cost, covering the high, middle and low-end data transmission application needs of customers, realizing large-scale shipment, with a cumulative shipment of more than 160million.
The vice president of Fengjia microelectronics mentioned that in the future, the company will launch ultra-low power products with peak power consumption of about 1mA according to the market demand for lifelong work of battery powered equipment. At the same time, based on the development trend of “master Bluetooth wireless MCU converging sensing and interaction”, the company will launch wireless MCU solutions integrating high-precision AFE, G-sensor, RFID, touch, high-speed large screen drive, etc., to provide highly customized services for the market segments, Help customers create more competitive products.
With regard to the upgrade requirements brought by ar/vr devices to Bluetooth chips, Winton, the marketing manager of furikun, mentioned that both smart watches and ar/vr devices have strong demand for screen display capability, as well as Bluetooth audio such as Bluetooth hands-free calls and Bluetooth music playback.
In order to meet the market demand, the next generation dual-mode Bluetooth chip fr509x of furikun will bring powerful screen brushing ability; In addition, Winton mentioned to the reporter that in the handle or ring application of ar/vr devices, furikun provides a 1V2 low delay feature. The Bluetooth chip fr800x on the ar/vr helmet end acts as a master to establish a connection with the two handle end chips fr800x. The handle transmits the relevant data of IMU, hall, keystroke and other modules on the handle to the helmet with low delay.
Source: Fu Ruikun
Focusing on medium and high-end intelligent audio SOC chips, Torson technology continues to build products with high sound quality and low delay in the audio related low-power wireless Internet of things. On the intelligent audio track, gradually realize differentiated competition, such as E-sports headphones, traffic headphones, and hearing aids. In terms of TWS earphones, smart audio glasses and open audio earphones have gradually attracted the attention of the industry.
The director of Juxin technology products mentioned to the reporter that intelligent audio glasses can be considered as a derivative of TWS earphones and open audio products. TWS earphones are different in form, but there are many similarities in functions and requirements. The difference is mainly reflected in the call effect and echo cancellation. As the intelligent open audio speakers are external, they have higher requirements for the processing of bottom noise and sound effects.
From the current products, in the future, intelligent audio glasses will have more applications in outdoor sports, intelligent driving, business meetings and other fields. At the same time, the linkage with smart watches, intelligent voice assistants and other devices will open a new application market.