Rutronik News

Why We Loved Jelly Beans And Still Miss Jobs

Created by Bernd Hantsche |   Newsletter Article

The iPhone celebrates ten years – which also means celebrating ten years of partnership between Rutronik and Nordic Semiconductor.

When two companies enter into partnership and continually grow together faster than their market competitors over the period of a decade, that is no coincidence, rather the result of many good ideas and coordinated actions on both sides. Admittedly, there are also third parties that have contributed to the shared success story of Rutronik and Nordic, which is now in the spotlight. Let's look at Rutonik's success story by taking a little trip through time:

In the summer of 2005, Google bought Android. The only thing that people knew about Android at that time was that it developed software for mobile phones. In the same year, Rutronik greatly expanded its European sales network. The company's teams made up of sales, marketing and local FAEs penetrated countries where it had not yet established a presence. At the same time, Nordic announced to its shareholders particularly strong growth in the computer peripherals market segment and initial sales for audio and sports projects. The break-away from customer-specific systems on a chip or SoCs toward standard wireless products was completed at this time. It was also determined to expand the portfolio to include additional ultra-low power solutions especially for global, license-free 2.4GHz ISM band. At that time, Nordic was already involved in the Nokia Wibree Alliance. Wibree was working on developing a new wireless technology that was to be designed especially for small sensor data. In the process, the goal was to develop global deployment options with minimal power consumption. However, the technology should be universal enough to be able to serve many applications across many industries.

In November 2006, Nordic Semiconductor and Rutronik met for initial meetings at the electronica trade fair in Munich. Both parties quickly came to a consensus regarding common goals, necessary actions and establishing a closer partnership. Rutronik wanted to expand its portfolio of mobile and globally applicable wireless chips.

Then, as now, Nordic's sales channel leaned on distributors. To satisfy its growth objectives, the company was looking for a cross-regional distributor with logistics expertise and experience in technical sales. In addition, the Nokia Wibree Alliance was incorporated into the Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG).

A ground-breaking innovation increased the requirements and the significance of Bluetooth - and thereby also Nordic: On January 9, 2007, the first iPhone was unveiled at the Macworld Conference & Expo in San Francisco. On June 29, the sale of smart phones kicked off in the U.S. At this time, Bluetooth 2.0 was the most modern technology on the market and was primarily used to connect hands-free car systems. The Bluetooth Special Interest Group decided in August to include in Version 2.1 a few smaller add-on features.

Google responded quickly and announced on November 5 that it was developing, together with 33 other members of the Open Handset Alliance, a mobile phone operating system called Android. A few days later, on November 9, Apple also started selling the first iPhones in Europe.

In 2007, Rutronik additionally became the official distributor of Nordic Semiconductor by providing logistics and handling the design-in activity of highly efficient 2.4GHz transceivers and SoCs in major areas of Europe.

On October 21, 2008, Android was officially unveiled. Google took over the company in 2005. One day later, on October 22, the first Android-based smart phone called the HTC Dream was available for purchase.

However, it took a while before the first smart phones were able to incorporate the next development advance in Bluetooth technology. The 4.0 specification was approved on December 17, 2009, but it was not installed into the phones until two years later. The ULP protocol developed under the name "Wibree" was implemented parallel to the existing Bluetooth protocol, even though the technologies are fundamentally different - ranging from issues such as the channel width and the bounce to advertising and the software layers. Probably the greatest change was the option of being able to create one's own application profile. In the same year, Nordic Semiconductor expanded the franchise for Rutronik based on outstanding services across all of Europe.

In June 2011, a few leading Nordic and Apple managers joined the board of directors of Bluetooth SIG which enabled them to have a stronger influence on the further development of Bluetooth low energy.

On October 4, 2011, one day before the death of legendary Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, Apple CEO Tim Cook presented the iPhone 4s to the public. Many users were disappointed because the new features were limited, even though it was the first smart phone with Bluetooth low energy. Nevertheless, 1,000 people lined up at the Apple Store in Frankfurt am Main to buy an iPhone 4s. Apple sold four million phones during the first weekend. By switching from the BCM4329 chip, which was used for short-range wireless connections in the iPhone4, to the BCM4330 in the iPhone4S, the Bluetooth 4.0 Dual Mode became available in one iPhone for the very first time. This dual mode feature combined the classic Bluetooth with the new Bluetooth low energy. In the same year, Rutronik opened its first branch offices in Hong Kong, China and Taiwan. The same also applied for Android smart phones. The Bluetooth low energy was also installed in Android smart phones, starting with Jelly Bean version 4.3. The first Android smart phone to come with Bluetooth low energy was the Motorola Droid Razr, which was introduced on October 18 and whose sales launched on November 11 in the U.S.

The unusual name for the fourth OS generation stems from the Android tradition of naming its operating systems after candy. The American company Jelly Belly Candy, with headquarters in Fairfield, California, produces candy under the brand name Jelly Belly. Their candies are small (about one centimeter in size) and shaped like kidney beans.

Due to the many rumors in the run-up, Google surprised many consumers by introducing the third and presumably last Jelly Bean version not at Google I/O in May 2013, but rather at a separate event on July 24, 2013. The success of the Bluetooth low energy technology could no longer be held back.

In 2015, Nordic reinvested in its partnership with Rutronik and expanded its sales area in China. At the same time, Rutronik opened its first branch offices in North America. While its history of success continues, Rutronik is already offering the first Bluetooth 5.0 solutions. As developers of this new short-range wireless generation, Bluetooth SIG mentions the names David Engelien-Lopes and Eivind Sjøgren Olsen from Nordic, among others, on their website. Rutronik is proud to have worked successfully together for ten years with the pioneer of ultra low power short-range semiconductors and is already looking forward to new developments, such as the impending NB IoT semiconductor and a constantly expanding portfolio of Bluetooth low energy application SDKs. Without Steve Jobs' Bluetooth low energy integration starting with the iPhone 4S and the Android Jelly Bean integration starting with 4.3, the success story of Rutronik and Nordic would certainly not have been so quick and steep.