It has become imperative for Bluetooth products to allow over-the-air (OTA) firmware upgrades. As such, developers are making products that will let the firmware be upgraded wirelessly from accessories like a smart watch or activity tracker using an app on the phone.
But there is a caveat: Field-upgradable firmware has to be compatible with the latest mobile phone operating system releases. Such a solution will enable manufacturers to make product improvements and fix software bugs even after their products are sold and in use, saving both time and money.
Wicentric, a developer of Bluetooth low energy software solutions, launched its over-the-air firmware upgrade solution for Bluetooth Smart, its low energy solution. This new launch is expected to provide a portable and platform-independent firmware upgrade solution for Bluetooth low energy accessories.
Generally, OTA firmware upgrade solutions are only compatible with some types of chips. But the Wicentric system is compatible with any microcontroller or Bluetooth LE single-mode SoC. It is also portable according to different memory configurations, company officials report.
The Wicentric Data Exchange Service (WDXS), a Bluetooth low-energy service, matches the needs of mobile phone accessories. Besides the OTA firmware upgrade, Wicentric has added other features to also enable general purpose file transfers. This provides support for reading, writing, and erasing files, along with multiple simultaneous transfers.
The WDXS also enables other information transfers such as sensor data or accelerometer data. The data transport over the GATT layer, or L2CAP layer, supports current Bluetooth 4.0 phones and will support future Bluetooth phones as well. It features connection-control capabilities for enhancing interoperability with iOS and Android (News - Alert).
The new OTA firmware upgrade solution will further expand the Bluetooth low-energy software offerings from the company, comprised of exactLE Link, a portable and efficient Link Layer; exactLE Stack, a qualified single-mode protocol stack; and exactLE Profiles for physical activity monitors, healthcare devices, and smart watches.
Silicon Labs’ Gecko 32-bit microcontroller (MCU) powers the Misfit Shine physical activity monitor. The Gecko MCU hosts a Wicentric Bluetooth low-energy software stack to provide connectivity with the Shine App running on Apple (News - Alert) iOS devices.