Blippit’s app terminal, developed by Crunchfish Proximity, employs Nordic’s nRF52840 SoC to enable secure, low latency connectivity to smartphones
Nordic Semiconductor today announces that Crunchfish Proximity, a Malmö, Sweden-based m-commerce solution developer, has selected Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth® 5/Bluetooth Low Energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol System-on-Chip (SoC) to provide the wireless connectivity for the ‘Blippit app terminal’. Blippit is a joint venture between Crunchfish Proximity and coupon and payment services firm ClearOn, and the app terminal enables tap-and-go payments between a smartphone app and a retailer’s point-of-sale (POS) system.
In the same way a POS card terminal enables wireless payment via debit and credit cards, the USB-powered app terminal allows consumers to make payments as well as redeem app-based coupons and gift cards from any integrated partner app on their Bluetooth 4.0 (and later) smartphone. Swish, a mobile payment app with seven million users in Sweden, is the first to be integrated into Blippit’s ecosystem. In operation, the consumer can complete a purchase via the Swish app on their smartphone when connected to the Blippit app terminal using low latency, Bluetooth LE wireless connectivity provided by the Nordic SoC. The nRF52840 SoC’s Arm® CryptoCell-310 cryptographic accelerator ensures any information sent across the link is secure. The app terminal acts as a bridge between the consumer’s smartphone and the FMCG retailer’s cash register, enabling the retailer’s POS system to immediately trigger payment from the customer via the Swish app.
The nRF52840 is Nordic’s most advanced ultra low power nRF52 Series SoC. The SoC is Bluetooth 5-, Thread 1.1-, and Zigbee PRO (R21) and Green Power proxy specification-certified. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex® M4 processor with floating point unit (FPU), with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. A new radio architecture with on-chip PA provides features -95dBm RX sensitivity (at 1Mbps Bluetooth LE), a maximum output power of 8dBm, and a total link budget of 103dBm. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 (including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2Mbps)) compared with Bluetooth 4.2.
The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S140 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 5-certified software protocol stack for building long range and high data Bluetooth LE applications. Nordic’s software architecture includes a clear separation between the RF protocol software and Crunchfish Proximity’s application code, simplifying development and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t get corrupted when developing, compiling, testing, and verifying the application code. The S140 SoftDevice offers concurrent Central, Peripheral, Broadcaster, and Observer Bluetooth LE roles, and supports high throughput and long-range modes as well as advertising extensions
“Nordic’s SoftDevice offered the perfect integration support for the functionality we required. It was both easy to work with and robust,” says Paul Cronholm, CEO of Crunchfish Proximity. “We also appreciate periodic updates from Nordic on its functionality roadmap, which in turns helps us plan our own roadmap.”
“The app terminal has the potential to change the ecosystem for payment in physical commerce,” says Thomas Holmberg Kristensen, Senior Sales Manager at Nordic Semiconductor. “Nordic Semiconductor’s market-leading Bluetooth LE technology creates the best of conditions for Blippit to commercialize the app terminal.”