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Mobile accessories

Mobile phone accessories

ANT™ and Bluetooth low energy solutions for mobile accessories


Mobile accessories - Releasing the full potential of smartphones and tablets



Smartphones have become the mobile hub of our connected lives with the ability to enrich, enhance, and safeguard almost everything that we do. Wireless technologies such as Bluetooth® low energy (previously called Bluetooth Smart) and ANT+ enable a plethora of possibilities from sports & fitness, through entertainment and home automation, to healthcare and security.


Developing products to interact with mobile phones used to be challenging due to dependencies on built-in phone support, but that has changed with user applications (apps) on smartphones having the ability to support all kinds of 'smart' applications through the addition of simple wireless hardware accessories (otherwise known as appcessories).


Mobile accessories can now be an accessory to a specific application running on the mobile device. These accessories typically need to be small, energy-efficient, light-weight, reliable, and cost-effective. Bluetooth low energy and ANT provide profiles for specific types of applications that ensures vendor interoperability. However, both ANT and Bluetooth low energy offer mechanisms that enable user-defined device profiles to be created for a specific application's needs and multi-vendor interoperbility is not a requirement.


Typical products in this segment are:

  • Wearables
  • Sports and fitness
  • Healthcare and wellness
  • Security and Alert
  • Proximity and Location
  • Smart Home - light, temperature, humidity, pressure etc.
  • Assisted living
  • Remote controlled toys


Quick start tools


The following tools are available to speed up your mobile phone accessory designs



Nordic mobile Apps for iOS and Android smartphones and tablets

While the range of accessories is only limited by the imagination, they all have to be paired with an App running on a mobile device. Nordic Semiconductor provides a range of mobile Apps for smartphones. There is currently a differing level of native support for Bluetooth low energy and ANT+ on different mobile platforms. The apps work with a wide range of the most popular ANT+ and Bluetooth low energy accessories such as wireless heart rate straps, foot pods, bike speed-distance, cadence, and power sensors, temperature, proximity tags, weight scales, blood pressure monitors and blood glucose monitors. These apps complement Nordic's series of ANT and Bluetooth low energy solutions to offer a complete end-to-end product development solution.


Please go to the nRF product pages linked from the device selector table further down to read about development tools and software support for each relevant nRF product.



The Nordic competitive edge


Nordic Semiconductor's ultra low power (ULP) wireless solutions support brand new types of mobile phone peripherals by offering:


  • Over-The-Air Device Firmware Update (OTA-DFU)
  • Ultra-low power consumption – Up to years of battery life running from a single coin-cell
  • Multi-protocol SoCs - Single chip solutions capable of running more than one protocol on-chip including Bluetooth low energy and ANT
  • Pin compatible SoCs - Pin compatible SoC's across Bluetooth low energy, ANT, and 2.4 GHz enables you to make one PCB design for a range of products
  • Protocol/Application independence - The nRF51 series' unique software architecture enables you to develop, compile, and test your application separately from the embedded protocol stack.
  • Small size – The combination of compact packaging options and support for tiny coin-cell batteries supports the smallest wireless designs like sensors, watches, and key tags/fobs




The nRF51 Series are flash-based SoCs, as such they represent the most flexible solution available. A key feature of the nRF51 Series and their associated software architecture and S-Series SoftDevices is the possibility for Over-The-Air Device Firmware Update (OTA-DFU). See fig. 1. This allows firmware updates to be issued and downloaded to products in the field via the cloud. This enables OEMs to fix bugs and introduce new features to products that are already out in the marketplace. This brings added security and flexibility to product development when using the nRF51 Series SoCs.




Nordic offers the following wireless technologies for mobile accessories





ANT+ is a very popular standard for ultra-low power wireless connectivity in sports and fitness equipment. There are a number of smartphones with built-in ANT+ support and a wide variety of dedicated hub devices to connect ANT+ sensors with. ANT+ supports a wide range of device profiles, offering over 20 profiles for a wide range of applications.


More information about ANT+, visit



Bluetooth low energy

Bluetooth low energy

Bluetooth low energy is an exciting technology that is becoming a standard feature in mobile devices. Bluetooth low energy Ready devices form the hub of our personal area networks, these include smartphones and tablets as well as dedicated hub products. Bluetooth low energy devices are the peripheral sensors that typically capture data and relay data to and from the hubs. Bluetooth low energy profiles are already available for a range of applications.


For more information about Bluetooth low energy visit



Nordic IC offering


nRF51 Series

nRF51 Series logo_main_black

The nRF51 Series is Nordic's latest generation of ULP wireless System on Chip IC's that again sets the benchmark in this field. The nRF51 Series is based on the 32 bit ARM Cortex-M0 CPU and Nordic's leading multiprotocol radio and supports Bluetooth low energy, ANT and 2.4 GHz proprietary solutions. Across the range pin-compatibility allows for drop-in replacement of device types where application requirements differ with no requirement for redesign of circuit layout. The innovative software architecture ensures an absolute separation between application code and protocol stacks, and enables you to maintain one code base for products using the different wireless technologies.


nRF8000 Series

The nRF8000 range of devices offer a connectivity solution and a simple ASSP for Bluetooth low energy applications. These devices have a focus on design-in simplicity and flexibility. The nRF8001 offers a complete, qualified Bluetooth Smart for peripheral applications. The nRF8002 is a dedicated device for proximity and alert applications and features an integral state-machine and profile set for such applications.



Device Selector Table for Mobile Accessories


Device Bluetooth low energy ANT 2.4GHz Multi-protocol capable Series pin-compatible nRF24L Series compatible nRF24AP2 Series Compatible
nRF51422 x x x x x x
nRF51822 x   x x x x  
nRF8001 x            
nRF8002 x