Qualcomm debuts new NB2 IoT chipset for low-power devices in the field

The new design is intended for devices that need to operate for 15 years or more.

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Qualcomm has launched a new Internet of Things (IoT) chipset designed for low-power devices and applications. 

The Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT modem, a single-mode NB2 (NB-IoT) chipset, is claimed to be the "world's most power-efficient" NB2 chipset. 

The modem is focused on efficiency and keeping power consumption as low as possible, which would, in turn, make the chipset suitable for endpoint devices that must rely on batteries. 

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According to Qualcomm, the 212 modem requires less than 1uA of sleep current and is compatible with IoT devices using a power supply as low as 2.2 volts. 

The Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT chipset includes a modem baseband, an ARM Cortex M3 processor (204 Mhz), memory, RF transceiver with an RF front end, and power management components. The RF frequency bands span from 700MHz to 2.1GHz and the modem enables LTE modules below 100 square millimeters in size. Single-mode 3GPP Release 14 Cat. NB2 IoT connectivity is supported. 

"The Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT Modem will help usher in a new era for a range of IoT applications around the globe," said Vieri Vanghi, Qualcomm Europe vice president of product management. "Its ultra-low power consumption, compact form factor, and low cost will greatly benefit OEMs creating the next generation of low-power IoT devices."

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The executive added that the new chipset is best suited for IoT devices that need to "operate for 15 years or longer in the field" with low power or battery-operated usage, such as those buried deep within buildings and not easily reached or replaced. 

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Qualcomm is also launching a software development kit (SDK) for the device, permitting developers to create and run custom software on the chipset. Pre-integrated support for cloud platforms including the Microsoft Azure IoT SDK is also included. 

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Microsoft CVP Roanne Sones said the company is "excited" to collaborate with Qualcomm on intelligent edge and cloud technologies through the new design. 

The Qualcomm 212 LTE IoT modem will be made commercially available in the second half of 2020. 

In related news, on Wednesday, Qualcomm and BOE announced a strategic partnership to develop displays utilizing Qualcomm 3D Sonic ultrasonic fingerprint sensors.

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