Nordic-powered Bluetooth low energy development board offers rapid prototyping and development for professional and hobbyist IoT applications

Developed by Hong Kong-based RedBear, the open-source ‘BLE Nano 2.0 Development Board’ comes in a small form factor, is based on an nRF52832 SoC, and supports a wide range of programming tools

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Hong Kong-based RedBear has selected Nordic’s next generation nRF52832 Bluetooth® low energy (previously known as Bluetooth Smart) System-on-Chip (SoC) for its new ‘BLE Nano 2.0 Development Board’. The BLE Nano 2.0 is designed for use by hobbyists, makers, and professional developers of Bluetooth low energy Internet of Things (IoT) applications.

The development board, comes in an 18.5 by 21-mm form factor, and consists of a Nordic nRF52832-based MB-02 proprietary Antenna-on-Package (AOP) module on which the developer’s application software is produced. The development board features 11 programmable I/Os and support for a 3.3 to 13V power supply. The product also enables access to all of the features of Nordic’s nRF52 Series SoCs, including the SoC’s NFC-A tag and secure over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates.

The BLE Nano 2.0 Development Board is designed as a ‘drop-in’ replacement for the company’s earlier ‘BLE Nano Development Board’, with exactly the same form factor, and in most instances no need to change firmware code. In addition, the new development board also offers a U.FL connector for an external NFC antenna, while users will also benefit from the extra processing power and hardware resources of the nRF52832 SoC, including its 64MHz, 32-bit ARM® Cortex® M4F processor, compared to the previous generation nRF51822 SoC-based BLE Nano.

A wide range of Nordic nRF52 Series-compatible programming tools are supported by the development board, including Nordic’s nRF5 Software Development Kit (SDK) v12.0 and nRF SDK for HomeKit, as well as the open-source Arduino Library for nRF52832 SoC, ARM mbed OS 5.0 support for the Bluetooth low energy application programming interface (API). The BLE Nano 2.0 Development Board also provides Javascript Espruino support, as well as support for the ARM mbed™ toolchain for rapid prototyping and development using the Cloud-based mbed integrated development environment (IDE).

The nRF52832 Bluetooth low energy SoC, a member of Nordic Semiconductor’s sixth generation of ultra low power (ULP) wireless connectivity solutions, combines its ARM processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (fully compatible with Bluetooth 4.2, ANT™ and proprietary 2.4GHz RF software) featuring -96 dB RX sensitivity, 512 kB Flash memory, 64 kB RAM and NFC™-A tag for “Touch-to-Pair” capability. When launched, the SoC was the world’s highest performance single-chip Bluetooth low energy solution, delivering up to 60 percent more generic processing power, offering 10 times the Floating Point performance and twice the DSP performance compared to competing solutions.

“We chose the nRF52832 SoC for its processing power, power efficiency, and great hardware resources,” says Chi-Hung Ma, CEO of RedBear. “Nordic’s nRF SDK for HomeKit v3.0, plus the SoC’s NFC-A tag, and the ability to perform secure OTA updates were also key factors in our choice.

“We’ve been working with Nordic a long time now, and over 50 percent of our products are based on Nordic chips.”

The BLE Nano 2.0 Development Board is currently subject to a Kickstarter campaign, and will be commercially available in Q1 2017, or in December 2016 to backers.

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