NXP’s new tri-radio chip makes it easy to add Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth 5.2, and Thread to smart home gadgets

Imagine these devices have NXP’s new IW612 SoC | Image: NXP

NXP has a new tri-radio SoC that it’s announcing at CES 2022 that’s designed to serve as a silver bullet for comprehensive smart home connectivity in a single chip, offering out-of-the-box support for Wi-Fi 6, Bluetooth LE 5.2, and 802.15.4 (i.e., Thread) all at once.

The idea is that hardware manufacturers building new smart home devices — and especially ones building routers, smart speakers, and hubs that are designed to serve as bridges between different radio standards like Wi-Fi and Thread — can now just integrate a single chipset solution to their products.

That’s especially critical with the upcoming launch of the new Matter standard later in 2022, which aims to provide a single standard to connect all the different smart home software solutions out there from Apple, Google, Amazon, Samsung, and other companies.

But smart home devices aren’t just fragmented by platform — they also tend to use wildly different connectivity standards. Some lightbulbs have Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, while others use Thread or Zigbee. That’s where NXP’s IW612 SoC comes in: it’ll make it simple for upcoming Matter hub devices to interact with a wide range of smart home devices old and new, which (at least in theory) will help the new standard better integrate with customers’ setups.

NXP is already sampling the IW612 chip to its customers, and while it’s unlikely that most people buying a smart home product will ever really notice the NXP branding, the new chip could help be a key part of making Matter’s interconnected dream a reality when it rolls out later this year.

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