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Wireless audio IC supports home, portable apps

SAN FRANCISCO—Kleer Inc., a maker of chips for wireless audio, has announced a new release of its flagship KLR3012 wireless audio module, which contains new technology to support both portable audio devices and home audio equipment.

According to Kleer (Cupertino, Calif.), the KLR3012 version 1.9 enables consumer electronics brands to standardize on a single wireless radio platform for both portable and home audio applications.

Kleer executives offer a vision of audio sources wirelessly linked throughout the home using Kleer technology. Using audio headphones, a user could wander throughout the home and seamlessly switch between different sources such as stereos, televisions, PCs and other devices, they say. The technology also enables speakers to be wirelessly linked to audio sources.

This wireless home audio vision is still evolving, according to Brent Allen, director of product marketing at Kleer. The company's mixed-singal ICs are shipping in headphones and other products from brands such as Sennheiser, RCA and Sleek Audio. Allen said the company has several reference designs available and is looking for other home electronics customers.

Ralph Mason, Kleer's founder and chief technology officer, said making on IC to support requirements for both potable and home audio devices is a challenge because each has different requirements. For portable audio devices, size and power consumption are key, while in-home applications emphasize low latency and low interference.

The KLR3012 v1.9 module consists of a custom 2.4 GHZ ISM band radio along with the associated passive components necessary to produce lossless, low-power, low-interference wireless audio, according to the company.

Among the new features added to v1.9 is KleerControl, a technology which enhances pairing and connectivity management, music playback control and music file meta-data forwarding and allows for centralized or distributed controller function including an application Kleer has created for the iPhone and iPod Touch.

The device also utilizes the company's KleerStream technology for radio improvements, offering whole-home coverage with up to 100 meters (indoor line of site), audio latency under 25 microseconds for home theater applications, dynamic radio channel selection/switching and intelligent channel selection, according to Kleer.

“With the addition of KleerStream and KleerControl, we now have a solution that is the best option for both wireless portable devices and home audio,” Mason said.

Kleer's iPhone/iPod Touch reference application reference application can turn those devices into a home audio portable music hub, according to Kleer. The application leverages the KleerControl functionality and the KLR3012 hardware update, Kleer said. It can be adapted and enhanced by Kleer OEM and ODM partners to offer consumers finger-tip control over how and where their music is distributed, the company said.

Kleer plans to demonstrate its products, the iPhone application and its range of multi-vendor ecosystem interoperability at the Consumer Electronics Show, Jan. 7-10, 2010, in Las Vegas.

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