Bluetooth silicon developer CSR Plc has launched software to make the wireless protocol more attractive for PC and laptop peripherals by obviating the need for the stack to load before being able to connect to the machine.
The software, called the BlueCore Input Connection Enhancement, or BlueICE, works with a host interface built into a PC or housed in a dongle and the Cambridge, UK-based company’s BlueCore4-EXT silicon. This is the version of its products that works with memory on the host system and is external to the device carrying the chip, which in turn enables reconfiguration and so is suited to peripherals.
The issue with Bluetooth-based mice and keyboards until now has been that if users needed to boot from a CD or make changes to the BIOS, they had to keep wired alternatives in reserve for such eventualities because the wireless ones had to wait for the host’s operating system to load the Bluetooth software stack before they could connect.
CSR said BlueICE, which needs to be implemented on mouse, keyboard and host, circumvents this problem by switching the regular host module at start-up to HID proxy mode, allowing it to present itself on the USB bus as a USB composite device containing a keyboard and mouse. The BlueICE firmware implements the HID profile internally, allowing the keyboard and mouse to work without the Bluetooth software stack being accessible, it said. Once the OS has fully loaded, Host Controller Interface mode is enabled and the BlueCore host module presents the HCI interface on the USB bus.
The new firmware also has an AutoConnect feature, which means the mouse and /or keyboard need only be fitted with batteries in order to connect with the host and start working, as they will be found automatically by the host Bluetooth module. Users can also delete any existing pairing information, discover new devices, or activate the Auto Connect function by pushing a button on the host module and peripheral devices, said the company.
The move is designed to give Bluetooth peripherals equal boasting rights with their wired counterparts in that they too can now be autodetected by the host and be used during boot-up, prior to the OS being loaded, negating the requirement for a wired reserve.
The move comes shortly after LSE-listed CSR warned of a weaker second half due to changes in mobile phone manufacturers’ product mixes, with a shift to more low-end handsets (which typically are not Bluetooth-enabled) as developing world markets take off. Anything that helps drive take-up of Bluetooth in other areas such as computer peripherals is desirable to CSR at the moment.