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Wednesday, April 16, 2014, 06:23 am PT (09:23 am ET)

TI brings Apple's iBeacon to Bluetooth products for industrial, automotive & embedded applications

Silicon firm Texas Instruments on Wednesday announced plans to support Apple's iBeacon microlocation technology across a large swath of TI's Bluetooth product line, including chips for embedded and automotive applications.

TI's SensorTag development kit

TI's SensorTag development kit


"Restaurants, retailers and even sports stadiums have started using iBeacon technology, but there are many more applications that could benefit from the technology. Everything from asset trackers, retail, building automation systems, automotive and industrial applications, and a wide variety of consumer electronics," TI wireless connectivity executive Oyvind Birkenes said in a press release.

TI will bring iBeacons to the company's SimpleLink CC2541, CC2543, and CC2564 microcontrollers alongside the BL6450Q controller designed for automotive applications. iBeacons will also make their way into TI's WiLink series of integrated WiFi and Bluetooth packages, including the WiLink 8Q which enables advanced connectivity in vehicles and adds support for GPS and GLONASS signals.

"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, we are enabling manufacturers to quickly add micro-locationing capabilities to their products," he added.

The SensorTag app, a companion for TI's $25 iBeacon development kit of the same name, allows developers to virtually "place" SensorTags within a digital floorplan. The app provides ranging feedback and will launch a customized URL based on its proximity to specific SensorTags.

TI also unveiled a new reference design for a broadcast-only iBeacon system, based on the CC2543, which the company says is coin cell-sized, uses minimal power, and can be manufactured quickly for a low cost.