Wireless iPod?  CSR and PortalPlayer to bring wireless connectivity to personal media players

CSR PLC, a wireless solutions provider and leader in Bluetooth technology, and PortalPlayer, Inc., a leading supplier of semiconductors, firmware and software for personal media players and secondary display-enabled notebook computers, have joined forces to eliminate the inconvenience of wires on personal media players by adding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Through seamless integration between PortalPlayer’s PP5022 applications processor family and CSR’s UniFi Wi-Fi chip and BlueCore Bluetooth chip, consumer electronics and other media device manufacturers will gain a significant time-to-market advantage in delivering wire-free media players. Wi-Fi will simplify the synchronisation of media players with a PC as well as open up entirely new ways to download and stream content from the Internet. Bluetooth will enable wireless stereo headset connectivity.

The two firms will be running a Wi-Fi technology demonstration at the 3GSM World Congress 2006 in Barcelona, Spain, Feb. 13-17.

“CSR’s UniFi was designed for this type of application. The company worked long and hard to get both power and coexistence — operating both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth in a single design — to levels that make these technologies suitable for portable devices,” said Simon Finch, vice president of strategic marketing at CSR in the press release. “Working with PortalPlayer to equip these devices with our power-efficient Wi-Fi and Bluetooth solutions will give consumers more flexibility and more options to enjoy digital content whenever and wherever they wish.”

“Adding Wi-Fi means the personal media player is no longer a slave to the PC. Consumers will no longer have to dock their media player to change playlists or add new songs, photos and videos,” said Scott Tandy, vice president of marketing from PortalPlayer in the press release. “We are excited to continue the expansion of our core technology platforms into new and rapidly growing segments like wirelessly connected personal media players.”

CSR’s UniFi-1 Portable is the world’s smallest single-chip solution for standard 802.11a/b/g Wi-Fi and has been designed specifically to minimize coexistence design issues. In addition to functioning properly in close proximity to a Bluetooth radio, UniFi provides multi-mode 802.11a, b or g operation, extremely low power consumption, and built-in antenna diversity processing for extended speed and range. CSR’s BlueCore4-ROM implements Bluetooth v2.0+EDR (Enhanced Data Rate). In addition to delivering data rates up to three times faster than products using previous versions of Bluetooth, EDR Bluetooth also has a similar effect on power consumption with BlueCore4-powered products lasting up to three times longer.

PortalPlayer personal media player platforms drive many of today’s leading digital audio players. The company’s PP5022 system-on-chip utilizes dual 32-bit ARM7 microprocessor cores and extensive firmware to provide scaleable performance and maximize battery life for personal media players. This efficient design provides support for today’s leading audio encoders, digital-rights-management technologies, and multiple I/O and networking connectivity enhancements. This unique combination of capabilities gives consumers a feature-rich and easy-to-use digital media experience.

CSR and PortalPlayer both have expertise in delivering an optimum balance between battery life and performance in personal media players. This proficiency enabled the two firms to develop a complete semiconductor, firmware and software platform that will enable device manufacturers to create Wi-Fi and Bluetooth-equipped media players that enhance the current user experience.

The current generation of portable media players relies on wired headphones and a cradle, USB or cable connection for synchronizing music from a PC. Adding Wi-Fi and Bluetooth will enable a wide variety of new usage models and possibly new content access services, such as:
• Wirelessly synchronising content on a personal media player with a PC
• Downloading content like Podcasts directly from the Internet
• Streaming audio or video content from a PC or the Internet
• Access the Internet at public Wi-Fi hotspots or in metro Wi-Fi networks
• New purchase opportunities in public Wi-Fi-enabled venues
• Wireless stereo headsets

These technologies can also be used in other types of devices such as the new Preface-enabled Personal Media Displays (PMD) in notebook computers. In the PMD environment, always on Wi-Fi connectivity and Bluetooth can be used for a wide variety of enhanced productivity applications.

PortalPlayer and CSR will be showing reference designs and demonstrating Wi-Fi connectivity at the 3GSM World Congress next week. The PortalPlayer and CSR platforms are expected to be available in the second half of 2006. PortalPlayer will be demonstrating its Wi-Fi reference design at 3GSM 2006 in Fira de Barcelona, Feb. 13-16 in Suite HS3.03, Hall 4, Level 3. CSR will be exhibiting at 3GSM 2006 in Hall 1, Stand D72.

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