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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Witness of ULP Wireless Demonstration

I was on the road for a whole week and did not have time to check those "Google alerts" I set to monitor the industry until today. For the key word "ULP Bluetooth", I was surprised to see how many misleading or completely distorted news and comments are flowing around the internet and blogs.

NO, there is NO debut of ULP Bluetooth headset; there is NO demonstration of ULP Bluetooth connecting 50 times faster.

I have to admit that the CSR marketing team has done a great job writing such a glorious story for such a small event. No other companies participating the event has done so.

The original CSR's news release is here, the origin of all misleading information, though technically correct.

Simply put, ULP Bluetooth has no way to be 50 times faster in data communication. What CSR is saying in the release is that for a small sensor data packet, from establishing the link to transmitting the packet, ULP is 50 times faster than classic Bluetooth. A sensor data packet is several bytes. That is all.

I was in the demonstration witnessing everything. It was the informal ultra-low-power wireless solution demonstration of Continua Health Alliance Spring submit in the morning of April 13 in Luxembourg. Three companies / Organizations participated, ANT+, Bluetooth ULP (CSR), Zigbee (Philips, TI and Motorola)

In my mind, the Bluetooth ULP demo is the least impressive and the most preliminary. Here was the demonstration layout: on the right side of a 4' x 2' table was a laptop with its wi-fi streaming a live Malathon racing. one foot away were two PCBA modules with a foot apart. Each module was connecting to a laptop respectively and the testing application on the laptop showing data communication in between the two modules. Each of the two identical PCBA modules is about 4''x6'' in size. One chip on the board was said the Bluetooth IC. Robin of CSR was there and keep saying "see, it works". So that was the demonstration, Bluetooth ULP worked in a close proximity of Wi-Fi.

But the other other domontrated technology also worked very well. And they were within 3-4 meters from the streaming wi-fi.

The next day during the presentation session, Robin said the modules were running on version 0.5 of Bluetooth ULP, which was internally released last Oct if my source of information is reliable.

On the other side, both Zigbee and ANT demonstrated real product and applications. Zigbee showcased a weight scale and blood pressure monitor linking to a mobile phone while Zigbee routers. ANT demonstration targeted to two sectors. On one table, they showcased a bunch of commercial products, including a weight management system from Beurer (including a weight scale, a watch, a heart rate monitor and a foot pod) and Garmin products. ANT also showoffed their miniSDIO card with a Motorola Q phone wirelessly receiving data from a pulse-oximeter. On another table, they demonstrated a home automation topology consisting of about 10-15 all kind of sensors and several relays (all prototypes) . A laptop running with a beautiful GUI worked as the control panel.

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