Bluetooth forecast shows need for multiradio test capability

The market for Bluetooth chips is expected to boom through at least 2017 according to IMS Research, now part of IHS. The market research firm reports that although shipments of standalone Bluetooth chips remain substantial, the market is currently dominated by combination ICs that incorporate support for multiple wireless technologies.

“Smartphones and media tablets are packing increasing capabilities into products that have a lower cost and a thinner form factor,” said Liam Quirke, connectivity analyst at IHS.” The need to pack more performance in a smaller form factor, he continued, is driving demand for Bluetooth-enabled connectivity chips and MSoCs (mobile systems on chip). Most of the leading smartphone platforms already make use of integrated connectivity ICs, and increasingly will adopt Bluetooth-enabled MSoCs in the future.”

The research firm's findings suggest the advisability of selecting test equipment that can handle a variety of radio technologies. A recently released example is Agilent Technologies' E6630A wireless connectivity test set and E6618A multiport adapter, which help wireless device manufacturers quickly and accurately test 802.11a/b/g/n/ac WLAN, Bluetooth 1.0 to 4.0, and Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) technologies.

Our March communications test special report provides more details on multistandard radio test; our upcoming June special report will provide updates.

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