Broadcom Creates Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM Chip

Broadcom recently introduced a chip that combines 802. 11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and FM Transmission technologies.

Yesterday Broadcom sent out this press release detailing the BCM4329, a cost-effective solution for mobile devices that offers lower power consumption and greater performance advantages over other single-chip products. The company claims that by integrating all three technologies into one silicon die, developers can create smaller devices while utilizing the chip's minute power consumption. Previously Broadcom announced  that it would release a new combination chip every sixty days over the coming months, beginning with the industry's first Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM chip, theBCM4325, currently available on store shelves. The BCM4329 combination chip, third in the company's list of releases, adds the latest Wi-Fi and FM transmit technologies.

"We see the BCM4329 as a gateway fortying mobile devices -- phones, media players, handheld games, and even personal navigation devices -- into the digital home, " said Chris Bergey, director of Broadcom's Embedded WLAN unit, in a recent e-mail to InformationWeek. "802. 11n provides the bandwidth and coverage needed to move the digital content like images, music, video clips that are usually trapped on the handset to other Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices. For example, consumers who download a movie to their mobile phone can easily transfer it to their Wi-Fi-enabled PC orTV, or send pictures taken on their phones directly to a printer. "

Just imagine uploading a video clip to Facebook - taken by a mobile phone - using speeds up to 50 Mbps; large file transfers can now move quicker and more easily over the air. The BCM4329 also features space time block coding (STBC) , enabling a mobile device to maintain a connection with an access point anywhere within an expanded coverage area, states the company. The FM transmitter aspect of BCM4329 will enable end-users to stream music from the mobile device to car stereos or home theater systemswithout cables or costly adapters; the receiving end enables consumers to hear streaming music, broadcasts, and real-time traffic information.

According to the company, the new chip uses single-stream 802. 11n to transmit and receive data, reducing "the system's footprint and power consumption" when compared to multi-stream (two antenna) devices. Although BCM4329 will utilize only one antenna, Broadcom claims that it will still be faster and more reliable than current 802. 11gproducts. Apparently, the BCM4329 is the industry's smallest and lowest cost dual-band 802. 11n solution as well, integrating 2. 4 GHz and 5 GHz CMOS power amplifiers.

Although most mobile devices already feature Bluetooth technology, BCM4329 will enable hands-free communication with wireless headsets; stereo music streaming to headphones and speakers will be one of its new functions as well. "Handset manufacturers are excited about the opportunities that 802. 11n brings, but they are looking for single antenna solutions that meet stringent size and power requirements, " said Chris Bergey, Director of Broadcom's Embedded WLAN line of business. " The BCM4329is another example of how Broadcom is driving the industry towards combination solutions, not by delivering a one-size-fits-all technology, but by integrating the right mix of technologies for the right applications.

Currently Broadcom isn't releasing publicpricing of the new chip, stating that the company will only provide theinformation upon request. Early access customers are already checking out thenew combination chip, however Broadcom doesn't plan to mass-produce BCM4329 until sometime in 2009.

  • mdillenbeck
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