United Kingdom-based chipmaker CSR this week announced the BlueCore7, the world’s first single-chip solution to combine Bluetooth v2.1+EDR, Bluetooth low energy, eGPS (enhanced Global Positioning System), and FM transmit and receive capabilities.

“That particular chip is very firmly targeted at the mobile-phone segment,” said David McCall, vice president of CSR’s PC strategic business unit. “You can see that in two things—the integration of FM and the integration of GPS.”

While previous generations of the CSR chip included an FM receiver, the BlueCore7 also has an FM transmitter that would allow users to transmit music from their portable devices to their cars, McCall said.

He added that the company had been placing its Bluetooth chip next to an FM transmitter and receiver “in an awful lot of phones.” Combining them in a single-chip solution generated “a lot of cost savings in the whole system,” he said. Of course, such music capabilities have limited value—if any—to mission-critical communications for agencies like public safety. However, McCall said future generations of the BlueCore7 chips would allow host controller interface or flash-based programmability that should be attractive to public safety.

In addition, the BlueCore7 integrates Bluetooth low energy technology—formerly known as Wibree, McCall said—that is designed to extend the battery life of certain devices that send small amounts of data at infrequent intervals, which should be advantageous to public-safety and critical-infrastructure agencies, he said.

“With a device like a temperature sensor or some kind of industrial sensor, you can put a button-cell battery in it and have it last over a year,” he said of Bluetooth low energy. “For that type of application, you’d be lucky to get a couple of months [with normal Bluetooth technology].”

McCall said other wireless technologies such as Zigbee can provide similar energy savings for sensors, but most manufacturers supplement the Zigbee standard with proprietary features that can create incompatibilities with standard-based devices. With Bluetooth low energy sensors, any device with Bluetooth capability would be able to communicate directly with the sensors without the need for adaptive technologies, he said.

“For the PDA that you use to gather any information from these sensors, they can talk with these sensors without having to change anything,” McCall said.