updated 06:50 pm EDT, Wed April 16, 2014
Launches mobile app to help users design, implement iBeacon-based 'SensorTags'
Veteran embedded chip and automotive systems maker Texas Instruments has announced plans to incorporate Apple's iBeacon technology in many of the company's forthcoming Bluetooth products, saying that "there are many more applications that could benefit from the technology" beyond its presence popular use in retail shops, restaurants and stadiums. TI will be adding iBeacons to its SimpleLink line of automotive micro-controllers, and it WiLink navigation systems.
TI iBeacon development kit
The company plans to use Apple's technology in "everything -- from asset trackers, retail, building automation systems, automotive and industrial applications, and a wide variety of consumer electronics," said TI executive Oyvind Birkenes. The company plans to add iBeacons to its SimpleLink CC2541, CC2543 and CC2564 micro-controllers, as well as the BL6450Q automotive controller and the WiLink 8Q, a chipset that handles advanced functions and GPS/GLONASS navigation functions.
TI also showed off a new reference design for a broadcast-only iBeacon system, leveraging Bluetooth 4.0 low-energy profiles to make the beacon about the size of a coin, utilizing thin cell batteries. The system will be inexpensive to manufacture and use minimal power, AppleInsider reports.
It is also creating complementary products for the iBeacon technology, such as the company's new SimpleLink SensorTag location app, which allows developers to map out iBeacon-based SensorTags on a digital floorplan to gauge ranging feedback and help decide what information should be broadcast.
"By providing support for iBeacon technology across our entire Bluetooth low energy portfolio as well as a new SimpleLink SensorTag location app and broadcaster reference design," Birkenes said, "we are enabling manufacturers to quickly add micro-locationing capabilities to their products." TI is now offering a $25 iBeacon development kit which can be used with the free SimpleLink SensorTag app.