FDK CORPORATION and Toshiba Corporation have entered into a technology licensing agreement under which FDK will promote global sales and marketing of the world’s smallest*1 Bluetooth® Low Energy module. Built around Toshiba’s proprietary technology, the ultra-compact module will bring new capabilities to diverse applications, including wearable tech, and support for sensors and the IoT. FDK will start sample shipments to the global market in March 2024.
Toshiba applied its proprietary Slot Antenna on Shielded Package technology to the development of the world’s smallest Bluetooth® Low Energy module in 2021, and realized a module only 4x10 mm in size*2. Since then, by combining Toshiba’s rich experience in antenna design and miniaturization, and FDK’s industry-leading expertise in high-density mounting technology and proprietary small shield resin printing technology, the two companies have further reduced the size to 3.5x10 mm, while expanding its on-chip memory.
Moving forward under the terms of the licensing agreement, FDK has applied its extensive experience in electronic component manufacturing to mass production of the module. It started sample shipments in Japan, and will do the same in overseas markets in March next year. It will use its global sales organization to ensure full customer support from product development and manufacture to supply, order fulfillment and quality assurance.
Initial expansion in the market for wearable devices was largely driven by smartwatches and headphones, and support for health management and exercise analysis. Future applications are expected to be much wider. On the personal level, they will include monitoring of children, the elderly and pets, and industrial applications will include productivity improvements in manufacturing and agriculture through advances in IoT. These wider applications require smaller, lighter Bluetooth® Low Energy modules, especially when used to receive and transmit data from sensors. Even when used in combination with sensors and batteries, the new Bluetooth® Low Energy Module is light and ultra-compact, and it can be used in areas with size and shape restrictions, such as daily wear, sportswear and work clothes.
1. Increased flexibility in positioning peripheral components
Toshiba’s technology positions the larger part of the slot antenna*3 on the top of the module, realizing a shielded package*4 integrating an antenna. This eliminates areas around the antenna where wiring is not allowed, and brings greater freedom to the positioning of peripheral components, particularly sensors and batteries. FDK will obtain radio certification in target country, and for use of the Bluetooth® logo.
2. Realizing low power consumption data transmission simply by connecting a sensor to a battery
Despite its small size, the module integrates a high-speed quartz crystal unit*5, a low-speed quartz crystal unit*6, and passive components around the power supply. Connecting sensors and batteries to the module quickly and easily configures a low power consumption IoT component that can connect people and things. Toshiba’s proprietary Slot Antenna on Shielded Package technology ensures an all-in-one package for Bluetooth® Low Energy communication with edge devices in advanced IoT systems.
Wearable devices, healthcare, tracking, clothing, small electronic devices
As of December 4, 2023. Specifications are subject to change without notice.
Built-in Bluetooth® IC
Nordic Semiconductor nRF52832
Arm® Cortex® -M4 with FPU
Variable from +4dBm to -20dBm
Number of general-purpose GPIOs
16 (UART, SPI, TWI, QDEC, ADC, PDM)
High-speed clock (32 MHz)
Low-speed clock (32.768 KHz)
High-efficiency DCDC, LDO and built-in inductor for DCDC
Range of temperature in operation
-40°C to +85°C
Range of voltage in operation
1.7V to 3.6V
* Bluetooth® word mark is a trademark owned by Bluetooth SIG, Inc.
* Arm and Cortex are trademarks of Arm Limited (or its subsidiaries) in the U.S. and other countries.
*1: As a shielded type 32KHz/32MHz quartz crystal unit built-in module with antenna. Reference values, as of December 4, 2023 (research by FDK and Toshiba).
*2: Press release in January 2021 https://www.global.toshiba/ww/news/corporate/2021/01/pr1401.html
*3: Technology that uses a laser to form grooves in the metal case covering the module (shield package) to make it into an antenna.
*4: Metal case with small shield resin printing technology that covers the module to prevent unwanted transmission of radio waves.
*5: For main clock. Oscillation frequency: 32MHz.
*6: For low power consumption mode. Oscillation frequency: 32.768 KHz.
*7: Typical value (TYP value) as a guide to measurement error.
FDK CORPORATION (Tokyo Stock Exchange Standard Section: Code 6955) designs and manufactures a comprehensive line of batteries and electronic components. FDK's experience with batteries, electronic materials, circuits and high-density mounting technologies has been cultivated for over seventy (70) years and enables FDK to supply highly innovative, quality products to customers worldwide. FDK, as a Smart Energy Partner, will continue to provide customers with proposals for the efficient use of electric energy in a safe and efficient manner by assembling advanced technologies.
Find out more about FDK at www.fdk.com
Toshiba Corporation leads a global group of companies that combines knowledge and capabilities from almost 150 years of experience in a wide range of businesses—from energy and social infrastructure to electronic devices—with world-class capabilities in information processing, digital and AI technologies. These distinctive strengths support Toshiba in building infrastructure that everyone can enjoy, and a connected data society, and in achieving the Company’s ultimate goal, a future that realizes carbon neutrality and a circular economy. Guided by the Basic Commitment of the Toshiba Group, “Committed to People, Committed to the Future,” Toshiba contributes to society’s positive development with services and solutions that lead to a better world. The Group and its 110,000 employees worldwide secured annual sales of 3.4 trillion yen (US$25.1 billion) in fiscal year 2022.
Find out more about Toshiba at www.global.toshiba/ww/outline/corporate.html
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