Nordic Semiconductor provides a complete suite of software to enable development on the nRF52 and nRF51 Series multi-protocol SoCs.


SoftDevices are Nordic’s range of qualified, pre-compiled and linked protocol stacks. SoftDevices are event-driven provide run time isolation and determinism and associated They are downloadable as binaries from related product pages.


The use of SoftDevices in your application brings numerous benefits to your application. They reside in their own area of memory on the SoC which is entirely separate from application code memory. This means you can load in a particular SoftDevice that meets your application’s demands, and begin your application development work. Your application interfaces to the SoftDevice via an event-driven API.


As you develop your application, introduce re-compile and test new features, it is only the application code that goes through re-compilation, linking etc. The SoftDevice remains unaltered. This means the critical dependencies for efficient and reliable protocol operation are assured and unpredictable behavior is minimized. It also brings the advantage of being able to use pre-qualified SoftDevices that do not need Bluetooth re-qualification.


SoftDevices employ a prioritized interrupt scheme to ensure optimum protocol and application performance. This follows the scheme below:

Priority 1: Critical low-level protocol tasks

Priority 2: Critical application tasks

Priority 3: Secondary protocol tasks

Priority 4: Secondary application tasks


SoftDevices are named such because although they are software, they can effectively be viewed as an extra ‘device’ on the SoC with known interfaces and predictable operation. Working with SoftDevices brings peace of mind to development work and allows developers to concentrate on what they do best, developing their applications.

SoC Architecture

nRF52 Series Software architecture


The SoftDevice Application Programming Interface (API) is available to applications as a high-level programming language interface, for example a C header file.


A range of Bluetooth low energy SoftDevices available to fit your needs


Part # Description
S130 Concurrent multi-role (Central/Peripheral/Broadcaster/Observer) Bluetooth low energy protocol stack for nRF51 Series multi-protocol SoC
S132 Concurrent multi-role (Central/Peripheral/Broadcaster/Observer) Bluetooth low energy protocol stack for nRF52 Series multi-protocol SoC
S140 Bluetooth 5 ready concurrent multi-role (Central/Peripheral/Broadcaster/Observer) Bluetooth low energy protocol stack for nRF52840 multi-protocol SoC
ANT SoftDevices ANT SoftDevices and ANT/Bluetooth low energy combo SoftDevices are available from ANT