Nordic-powered multiprotocol gaming keyboard hub supports low latency console, mobile phone, and PC gaming

PXN, keyboard

Nordic’s nRF52833 SoC powers PXN-K6 for gaming applications using Bluetooth LE, 2.4GHz proprietary wireless connectivity, and USB wired connectivity

Nordic Semiconductor today announces that PXN, a Shenzhen, China-based electronic technology company, has selected Nordic’s nRF52833 Bluetooth® Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the core processing and wireless connectivity for its ‘PXN-K6 gaming keyboard hub’. 

The Nordic nRF52833 SoC’s 64MHz, 32-bit Arm® Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU) and DSP instruction set provides ample processing power for the PXN-K6 keyboard to support multiple modes of gaming. In addition, the nRF52833’s multiprotocol support enables the keyboard to take advantage of both proprietary 2.4GHz and Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity while the SoC’s Full Speed (12 Mbps) USB capability allows the keyboard to be used as a USB-compatible wired peripheral.

In console mode the user plugs a 2.4GHz dongle into the Sony PS4 or PS3, Microsoft Xbox One or Nintendo Switch console enabling the PXN-K6 keyboard to communicate with the console using very low latency proprietary 2.4GHz wireless connectivity as well as supporting wireless audio. PXN says the very low latency wireless link improves the user experience when playing “first person shooter” action games. In this mode the keyboard can also support either a wired or wireless mouse.

The Full Speed (12 Mbps) USB operation is a key feature of the nRF52833

When using standard mode, the PXN-K6 can be used as a normal Bluetooth LE or 2.4GHz proprietary wireless computer keyboard. In game mode the PXN-K6 keyboard can be wirelessly connected to a smartphone using Bluetooth LE. A companion app on the smartphone allows the user to configure the functions on the keyboard to customize it for use with console games. 

Full Speed USB operation

The Full Speed (12 Mbps) USB operation is a key feature of the nRF52833. USB is a popular connectivity interface that enables low-latency and high-bandwidth communication with a range of host devices, such as PCs, smartphones, and gateways. The connectivity also makes device firmware updates (DFU)-over-USB practical. When in USB mode the PXN-K6 keyboard can be used as a normal wired keyboard. 

The nRF52833 combines the Arm M4 processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio (supporting Bluetooth 5.2, Bluetooth mesh, Direction Finding, 2Mbps throughput, and Long Range plus Thread, Zigbee, IEEE 802.15.4, and proprietary 2.4GHz RF protocol software) featuring +8dBm maximum TX power and -95dBm RX sensitivity. The SoC’s generous amount of Flash (512kB) and RAM (128kB) memory supports the dynamic multiprotocol capability which uniquely enables concurrent wireless protocol connectivity.

The nRF52833 SoC is supplied with S113 or S140 SoftDevices, Nordic’s Bluetooth RF protocol stacks. The S140 is a qualified Bluetooth 5.1 stack and includes support for 2 Mbps throughput, Long Range, and improved coexistence through Channel Selection Algorithm #2. 

Unique software architecture

Nordic’s software architecture also includes a clear separation between the RF protocol software and PXN’s application code, simplifying development and ensuring the SoftDevice can’t be corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying the application code. Nordic’s nRF5 Software Development Kit (SDK) proved important in assisting PXN to develop the keyboard application code. The SDK provides all necessary examples, libraries, and drivers to get started with Bluetooth LE development.