Feeds

Bluetooth 4 BLING: Fashion, not tech, will sell those wearables – wireless chip maker

With this ring, I thee web

Build a business case: developing custom apps

CES 2014 British Bluetooth chip and systems maker CSR is turning its back on sceptical techies in the hope of winning the fashion world’s support for its wearable computing hardware.

Having asked ordinary punters about their attitudes to wearable computing, CSR says it found that few of them care much about the technology. "What does it usefully do?" they ask, inevitably followed by, "Will it make my bum look big?"

CSR Bluetooth Jewellery

CSR’s missed-a-call alert jewellery

Happy to oblige, CSR has come up with a pair of silvery danglers to demonstrate what artisanal jewellers and hardware hackers might together come up with for such an audience.

CSR presented the two trinkets at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas this week: a necklace with an on-board light the colour of which you can change at will with the inevitable accompanying app, and a phone status pendant that vibrates and flashes a coloured LED to tell you when you’ve had a call.

Essentially then, the same functionality as a smartwatch, but in a a more feminine form-factor.

CSR Bluetooth Jewellery

Brooch birth

Not that CSR will be making this kind of thing itself whoever might fancy draping such a device over their decolletage. Instead it hopes to inspire more firms to branch out into the wearables business... and buy lots of tiny Bluetooth Smart circuit boards and chips from CSR.

The Cambridge-based firm is also hoping to excite purveyors of audio kit with its new Vibe systems: VibeHub and VibePlayer, also introduced at CES. Hub and Player provide communications sub-systems for, respectively, nodes and end-of-branch devices that use a standard Wi-Fi home network for multi-room wireless audio.

A VibeHub can pull in content from Bluetooth-connected devices such as smartphones and tablets, or grab it from online streamers like Spotify and from network-connected source like DLNA servers and AirPlay hosts. You might find CSR’s VibeHub unit in connected hi-fi, for instance.

CSR Bluetooth Jewellery

Mood ring de nos jours

The VibePlayer hardware is designed to go into anything from less sophisticated connected hi-fi units through classic Bluetooth speakers to Bluetooth headphones. It allows content to be pushed over from one or more VibeHubs, and permits direct Bluetooth connections.

Unlike regular Bluetooth-connected audio output devices VibeHubs and VibePlayers will feature what CSR has dubbed its SyncLock technology, which synchronises audio output in different rooms so the same song being streamed to, say, living room and kitchen comes out of the speakers on both rooms in perfect harmony.

CSR isn’t saying who might be building kit incorporating its Vibe systems, but staff did suggest such products might appear during the first half of the year. But look for the SyncLock sticker on the box, not a Vibe decal, they added.

The company’s pitch to OEMs is not only its Bluetooth expertise - it developed the popular Apt-X codec, for instance - but that its kit, unlike very similar stuff from rival firms, most notably Sonos, operates with standard wireless infrastructure and can be vendor-agnostic.

Buy a SyncLock gadget from A and there’s not reason why you won’t be able to expand the system with a SyncLock product from vendor B... unless either vendor chooses to prevent this, something CSR has admitted its SDK allows.

The software kit does include foundation code for Android and iOS to allow vendors to create multi-room audio management apps. ®

The essential guide to IT transformation

More from The Register

next story
So, Apple won't sell cheap kit? Prepare the iOS garden wall WRECKING BALL
It can throw the low cost race if it looks to the cloud
End of buttons? Apple looks to patent animating iPhone sidewalls
Filing suggests handset with display strips
Samsung Gear S: Quick, LAUNCH IT – before Apple straps on iWatch
Full specs for wrist-mounted device here ... but who'll buy it?
Apple promises to lift Curse of the Drained iPhone 5 Battery
Have you tried turning it off and...? Never mind, here's a replacement
Now that's FIRE WIRE: HP recalls 6 MILLION burn-risk laptop cables
Right in the middle of Burning Mains Man week
Apple's iWatch? They cannae do it ... they don't have the POWER
Analyst predicts fanbois will have to wait until next year
Reg man looks through a Glass, darkly: Google's toy ploy or killer tech specs?
Tip: Put the shades on and you'll look less of a spanner
HUGE iPAD? Maybe. HUGE ADVERTS? That's for SURE
Noo! Hand not big enough! Don't look at meee!
AMD unveils 'single purpose' graphics card for PC gamers and NO ONE else
Chip maker claims the Radeon R9 285 is 'best in its class'
prev story

Whitepapers

Top 10 endpoint backup mistakes
Avoid the ten endpoint backup mistakes to ensure that your critical corporate data is protected and end user productivity is improved.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Backing up distributed data
Eliminating the redundant use of bandwidth and storage capacity and application consolidation in the modern data center.
The essential guide to IT transformation
ServiceNow discusses three IT transformations that can help CIOs automate IT services to transform IT and the enterprise
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.