Big News for Bluetooth Low Energy

July 06, 2015 by Jennifer A. Diffley

New processes enable lower power use in BLE-compatible devices.

In the rush to manufacture IoT-compatible products, low power consumption has become a priority: after all, what's the point of connecting devices if the additional processes only drain more power? Toshiba has announced two new processes that significantly reduce both power and cost in everything from microcontrollers to power supply ICs. The single-poly non volatile memory embedded process works especially well for low-cost applications, as NVM and analog circuits are embedded on a single chip that can incorporate multiple functions conventionally executed by a multi-chip system. This results in fewer terminals and smaller packages.

Toshiba's also adopted Silicon Storage Technology's SuperFlash cell technology with its 65nm logic process technology. By fine-tuning circuits and manufacturing processes, the company has managed to develop an ultra-low power flash embedded logic process that, when applied to microcontrollers, has 60% less power consumption than current mainstream tech. Once the microcontrollers have been released, Toshiba plans on launching a range of sample Bluetooth Low Energy products. This is important because BLE is likely to beat out NFC  when it comes to short-range data transmission technology; BLE is compatible with iOS devices and can be used for large crowds, like those in stadiums or at music festivals. But the fact that BLE provides a constant, always "on" signal means that it can also drain power much more faster than its NFC counterpart, which only activates when it senses a nearby smartphone. When Toshiba releases its line of BLE products next year, it may herald large-scale BLE implementation with ultra low power consumption.