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silicon laboratories inc (SLAB) Key Developments

Silicon Labs Unveils Complete Bluetooth® Smart Solutions Portfolio

Silicon Labs unveiled a complete Bluetooth® Smart solutions portfolio designed to help developers minimize the energy consumption, cost and complexity of wireless IoT designs. Silicon Labs’ recent acquisition of Bluegiga accelerates the company’s ability to deliver comprehensive Bluetooth Smart solutions. Silicon Labs’ new Blue Gecko solutions include ultra-low-power wireless system-on-chip (SoC) devices, embedded modules, and Bluegiga’s software development kit (SDK) and Bluetooth Smart software stack. Blue Gecko wireless SoCs and modules help developers simplify design and speed time to market for a wide range of applications for the connected home, health and fitness, wearables, automotive, consumer electronics, audio and industrial automation markets. The Blue Gecko portfolio addresses the largest, fastest-growing low-power wireless connectivity opportunity in the IoT market. Bluetooth Smart will represent 42% of the total low-power wireless module and chipset market by unit volume in 2018. A significant number of Bluetooth Smart chipsets are currently used in wireless modules to meet the needs of low-volume IoT applications, greatly simplifying RF design. By the end of the decade, the use of cost-effective Bluetooth Smart chipsets and wireless SoCs is expected to outpace modules as many IoT applications reach higher volumes. Silicon Labs’ Blue Gecko portfolio provides developers with the flexibility to begin development with modules and transition to SoCs when needed with little to no system redesign. The first in a family of wireless SoCs optimized for IoT applications, Blue Gecko SoCs combine Silicon Labs’ energy-friendly EFM32® Gecko MCU technology with an ultra-low-power Bluetooth Smart transceiver. This innovative, single-die solution provides energy efficiency, the wake-up times, superior RF sensitivity and no-compromise MCU features combined with the Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart software stack to help developers reduce system power, cost and time to market. Unlike other Bluetooth Smart IC alternatives, a Blue Gecko SoC can transmit +10 dBm or higher output power with its fully integrated power amplifier and balun, further reducing design complexity. Blue Gecko SoCs are based on the ARM® Cortex®-M3 and M4 cores and offer 128 to 256 kB flash sizes and 16 to 32 kB RAM sizes. The SoCs integrate an array of low-energy peripherals as well as Silicon Labs’ Peripheral Reflex System (PRS) for autonomous peripheral operation. The Blue Gecko SoC family also offers a roadmap of enhanced flash and RAM memory sizes and additional package options to meet future application needs. Bluegiga modules based on Blue Gecko SoCs are designed to help developers accelerate time to market and reduce development costs and compliance risks by providing a pre-certified, plug-and-play RF design. Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart modules incorporate all features of Blue Gecko SoCs and are certified for use in all key markets including North America, Europe, Japan and South Korea. Bluegiga modules include the Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart software stack and profile toolkit and come with 256 kB flash and 32 kB RAM, providing ample available memory for onboard applications. Flexible hardware interfaces enable easy connection to a variety of peripherals and sensors, and an integrated antenna makes RF operation consistent and straightforward for the design engineer. Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart modules provide very low power operation, enabling wireless system designs to be powered from a standard 3 V coin cell battery or two AAA batteries. To simplify wireless development, Silicon Labs offers the complete Bluegiga Bluetooth Smart software stack for Blue Gecko modules and wireless SoCs. The stack implements the Bluetooth Smart protocol layers including the Attribute Protocol (ATT), the Generic Attribute Profile (GATT), the Generic Access Protocol (GAP), a security manager and connection management. The Blue Gecko portfolio includes a comprehensive wireless SDK for developing Bluetooth Smart applications using either a host or fully standalone applications through the easy-to-use Bluegiga BGScript™ scripting language. BGScript enables developers to create applications quickly without using external MCUs to run the application logic, enabling them to reduce cost, simplify their designs and get to market faster. Bluetooth Smart application profiles and examples are also available to help streamline development. Samples of Bluegiga modules based on Blue Gecko SoCs are planned to be available in late second quarter of 2015. Samples of Blue Gecko wireless SoCs are planned to be available in early third quarter in a choice of 5 mm x 5 mm QFN32 and 7 mm x 7 mm QFN48 packages. Pricing for Blue Gecko-based Bluegiga modules begins at $4.99 in 10,000-unit quantities. Blue Gecko SoC pricing begins at $0.99 in 100,000-unit quantities. The Bluegiga SDK and Bluetooth Smart software stack will be available to Silicon Labs’ customers at no charge.

Silicon Labs Launches Integrated Development Environment for MCUs and Wireless

Silicon Labs introduced the next generation of Simplicity Studio™. This new software release inherits the best features of the original Simplicity Studio platform and adds support for Silicon Labs’ new 8-bit EFM8 MCU family, new EZR32 sub-GHz wireless MCUs and EM35xx Ember ZigBee® wireless SoCs – the most widely used 2.4 GHz connectivity solution in the 802.15.4 mesh networking market. Simplicity Studio simplifies the process of developing IoT applications by providing MCU and wireless developers with one-click access to everything they need to complete their projects, from initial concept to final product, in a unified software environment. Simplicity Studio includes an Eclipse-based integrated development environment (IDE), graphical configuration tools, energy profiling tools, network analysis tools, demos, software examples, documentation, technical support and community forums. All of these integrated features combine to make embedded development simple and productive for IoT developers. Simplicity Studio offers built-in intelligence to automatically detect the connected 8-bit or 32-bit MCU or wireless IC, graphically configure the device, and show supported configuration options to help developers get their projects up and running in minutes. Simplicity Studio is a contextually aware development environment that provides developers with product information that is relevant to their project. Integrated real-time energy profiling and network packet analyzer tools also enable developers to create robust networks and energy-efficient wireless nodes and to enhance energy consumption for optimal battery life and size. Concurrent MCU and wireless design within the same development environment helps customers save time and effort by eliminating context switching during the embedded design process. Embedded developers can use the integrated Simplicity Studio IDE for rapid application development of target applications based on EZR32 wireless MCUs, Ember ZigBee wireless SoCs and 8/32-bit MCUs. The IDE supports enhanced usability features such as full integration of the wireless embedded software framework, intelligent code completion, and compatibility with other value-added extensions available from the Eclipse ecosystem. Silicon Labs also provides the Keil® PK51 build tools for 8-bit 8051 MCUs at no charge ($2,500 savings for customers).

Silicon Labs Rolls Out Next-Generation 8-Bit Microcontrollers for the IoT Age

Silicon Labs introduced the company’s next-generation 8-bit MCU portfolio designed for today’s ultra-low-power, small-footprint IoT applications. Silicon Labs’ new EFM8 MCU family includes three lines of highly integrated, peripheral-rich MCUs optimized for exceptional price/performance value, ultra-low-power capacitive touch control and streamlined USB connectivity. The EFM8 MCUs bring simplicity, power efficiency, performance and cost-saving integration to every 8-bit application that embedded developers can imagine including home and building automation, wearables, consumer electronics, toys, motor control and industrial IoT. The EFM8 MCU family meets IoT developer needs with an unparalleled combination of features and capabilities including a high-speed pipelined 8051 core, ultra-low power, precision analog and enhanced communication peripherals, integrated oscillators, small-footprint packages, and an advanced crossbar architecture that enables flexible digital and analog multiplexing to simplify printed circuit board (PCB) design and I/O pin routing. The new EFM8 Bee family includes three MCU lines optimized for specific developer needs and applications. EFM8 Busy Bee: EFM8BB Busy Bee MCUs provide an optimal balance of no-compromise performance, power efficiency and value for cost-sensitive applications. With core speeds scaling up to 50 MHz and 2-16 kB flash sizes, the MCUs offer an array of high-performance peripherals including a 12-bit analog-to-digital converter. The MCUs are ideal for motor control applications, power supplies, battery chargers, sensor controllers, consumer electronics and communication bridges. EFM8 Sleepy Bee: EFM8SB Sleepy Bee MCUs are Silicon Labs’ most energy-friendly 8-bit devices offering sleep mode power and ultra-fast 2 µs wake-up time. Core speeds scale up to 25 MHz, and flash sizes range from 2-64 kB. The MCUs integrate a best-in-class capacitive sense controller offering an ultra-low-power < 1 µA wake-on-touch capability, eliminating the need for on/off switches in some products. These power-saving MCUs are ideal for touch-based, battery-powered IoT and industrial applications that require long battery lifetimes and energy-efficient human interfaces. EFM8 Universal Bee: EFM8UB Universal Bee MCUs are the industry’s foremost 8-bit USB connectivity solution, with speeds of up to 48 MHz and 8-64 kB flash sizes. The MCUs combine a high-precision internal oscillator, clock recovery circuit and an integrated full-speed USB transceiver. Low-energy USB MCU versions can reduce USB power consumption by up to 90 percent. An on-chip battery charger detection module reduces bill-of-materials count and system cost. The MCUs’ exceptional peripheral integration and small package sizes dramatically reduce the cost and complexity of adding USB connectivity to personal medical devices, wearables, communication bridges, toys, remote controls and thermostats. Silicon Labs fully supports the EFM8 MCU family with comprehensive software and hardware toolkits offering an optimal, developer-friendly out-of-the-box experience. Silicon Lab’s enhanced Simplicity Studio development platform provides a unified 8/32-bit and wireless development environment that simplifies and accelerates 8-bit design with one-click access to Eclipse debuggers and plug-ins, Keil PK51 build tools, third-party tools support, a capacitive sense profiler, demos, software examples, data sheets, application notes, technical support and community forums. Samples and production quantities of Silicon Labs’ EFM8 MCUs are available now in a variety of small-footprint QFN, QSOP, SOIC and QFP packages. Starting prices for EFM8 MCUs in 10,000-unit quantities range from USD 0.21 for EFM8BB MCUs to USD 0.32 for EFM8SB MCUs to USD 0.43 for EFM8UB MCUs. EFM8BB Busy Bee, EFM8SB Sleepy Bee and EFM8UB Universal Bee starter kits are priced at USD 29 each.

Silicon Labs Simplifies IoT Connectivity with New 32-Bit Sub-GHz Wireless Microcontrollers

Silicon Labs introduced a new family of 32-bit wireless microcontrollers designed to simplify a wide range of IoT connectivity applications. The new EZR32 wireless MCUs deliver best-in-class power efficiency and sub-GHz RF performance and enable any application requiring longer battery life, increased wireless range, small form factor, and the flexibility to support proprietary and industry-standard wireless protocols with a single-chip device. Target applications for the EZR32 family include smart metering, wireless sensor networks, home and building automation, security systems, remote monitoring, and asset tracking. Combining an EFM32 MCU core with EZRadio/EZRadioPRO sub-GHz transceivers, EZR32 wireless MCUs offer developers significant advantages over conventional system designs that pair discrete MCUs with RF devices. Seamless MCU+RF integration frees developers from the challenge of making complex interconnections between the MCU and the radio, resulting in an easier design process and simpler board designs with less susceptibility to interference. Developers can begin their wireless designs secure in the knowledge that they are getting a fully tested, field-proven, single-chip wireless MCU solution that helps reduce component count and board size for space-constrained applications. The EZR32 family leads the industry in ultra-low-power, high-performance sub-GHz connectivity. The wireless MCUs provide RF coverage over a wide frequency band for all geographic regions, +20 dBm Tx power output for longer range, and receive sensitivity, selectivity and blocking. The low standby, transmit and receive power consumption of the EZRadio and EZRadioPRO transceivers, combined with the ultra-low-power operating modes and fast wake-up times of the EFM32 MCUs, results in an ideal solution for battery-powered wireless applications – without any compromises in RF performance. The multi-protocol EZR32 devices support wireless applications based on IEEE 802.15.4/4g, Wireless M-Bus, Wi-SUN, and a broad range of proprietary radio protocols. The EZR32 family provides developers with the ultimate flexibility and scalability across applications with little to no redesign. The family includes two pin-compatible product lines: EZR32LG devices based on an ARM Cortex-M3 core and EZR32WG devices based on an ARM Cortex-M4 core with floating point and digital signal processing capabilities. Flash memory options scale from 64 to 256 kB. Both product lines support 32 kB of RAM and a rich peripheral set including timers and counters, multiple communication interfaces, ADC and DAC, the low-energy sensor interface, USB, and a 128-bit AES accelerator for advanced security and data protection. The EZR32LG and EZR32WG devices are available with a choice of EZRadio and EZRadioPRO transceivers to accommodate an array of RF performance requirements. The EZRadio versions meet the needs of most simple and cost-sensitive button-press wireless designs such as remote controls, garage door openers and other point-to-point network configurations. The EZRadioPRO versions target applications requiring cutting-edge radio features and higher RF performance to support ultra-long-range narrowband connectivity and complex packet formats and network protocols. The powerful EZRadioPRO transceiver architecture supports advanced packet processing and modem functionality such as automatic frequency compensation, preamble detection and automatic gain control as well as frequency hopping. The enhanced Simplicity Studio development environment, now supporting concurrent MCU and wireless design, provides a comprehensive, easy-to-use platform for developing wireless applications based on the EZR32 family. Simplicity Studio supports the new Silicon Labs Connect software stack, a fully tested connectivity solution for point-to-point and star network topologies. Silicon Labs Connect abstracts the lower-level details of sub-GHz protocols and configuration, freeing designers to focus on application development. Silicon Labs also offers a choice of cost-effective EZR32 Wireless Starter Kits, providing all of the hardware and software tools developers need to evaluate and develop sub-GHz wireless applications. Hardware tools include an on-board debugger, advanced energy monitoring and integrated packet trace. Samples and production quantities of the EZR32LG and EZR32WG wireless MCUs are available now in a space-saving 9 mm x 9 mm 64-pin QFN package. EZR32LG pricing begins at USD 2.71, and EZR32WG pricing begins at USD 2.98, both in 10,000-unit quantities. The SLWSTK62xxA starter kits, supporting various MCU and radio configurations, are priced at USD 299.00.

Silicon Seeks Acquisitions

Silicon Laboratories Inc. (NasdaqGS:SLAB) is seeking acquisitions. Bill Bock, President of Silicon said, "we will continue to look for technology acquisitions and we are getting quite good at integrating an acquisition of this scale. We found that we can do it internationally as well as to domestically and our teams are well educated now into how to pull this off."


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