Playing to its strength in markets where standards are unsettled, programmable logic supplier Xilinx Inc. today will open a Web portal dedicated to Bluetooth technology.
As a continuation of Xilinx's emerging standards and protocols (eSP) initiative, the Bluetooth site provides resources from basic information, glossaries, and tutorials to hardware reference designs, system block diagrams, application notes, and a comparative component database, including IP blocks and FPGAs available from the company.
Though the ultimate purpose of the site is to sell FPGAs--specifically, Spartan parts that are priced to penetrate high-volume consumer segments--Xilinx believes that by helping prospective designers sort out emerging standards with application examples and component suggestions, it can help accelerate the development of new consumer electronics markets.
"Several billion dollars of R&D have been invested in Bluetooth to date. One way or another, it's going to be pervasive," said Robert Bielby, director of strategic applications at Xilinx. "But right now it's stalling in the marketplace because there's so much confusion."
A read through the 1,000-page Bluetooth specification is "mind numbing," said Xilinx system architect, Mike Nelson. Meanwhile, the push toward a higher-speed Bluetooth protocol has created further uncertainty among those still weighing the first version, he said.
A recent report by research firm Dataquest Inc., San Jose, indicated much of the hype surrounding Bluetooth has been replaced with realism, as technical and production challenges have come to light and delayed the rollout.
San Jose-based Xilinx says the value of FPGAs is that users can rework system interfaces as many times as necessary to fix bugs or adapt to changing technology, instead of burning through multiple custom chip designs.
A similar Web portal focused on home networking standards has resulted in 400 Xi linx reference design registrations since it was unveiled in February, Bielby said. The company plans in the third quarter to extend its eSP initiative into digital video technologies, such as DTV, digital video recording, and displays.