RealTime IT News

AMD Clamps Down on Wireless Security

Calling it a "fortress on a circuit board," Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) Monday introduced a 64-Mb page-mode Flash memory device with new security features designed to thwart signal thieves.

The Sunnyvale, Calif.-based semiconductor maker's new Am29PDL640G comes with 64-bit password protection for use in wireless applications such as mobile phones and other applications including television set-top boxes. The 3.0-volt page-mode Flash memory device is being offered in 1.8 V and 3.0 V input and output voltage options, and low standby power.

"This product helps protect the integrity of the wireless telephone or television network," AMD Memory Group vice president Ian Williams. "Customers can count on multiple layers of protection designed to prevent would-be signal thieves from fraudulently billing calls to other users' accounts or pirating television programming."

But the company is most proud of the new Flash memory's "Advanced Sector Protection," which comes in the form of 64-bit password protection mode. AMD says the multiple layers help ensure that only authorized users change manufacturer-selectable areas of the Flash memory to guard against hackers, tuners, viruses, and even erroneous code.

Williams also said the Am29PDL640G comes with simultaneous read/write architecture, which means the phone can still function while downloading applications, ringers, games, and pictures. The Flash memory also comes with standby current as low as 1 micron Amp, a pin-compatible upgrade path to 128 Mb, .13 micron Flash, fine-pitch Ball-Grid Array (FBGA) packaging compatible with SRAM and pSRAM.

The devices are being priced at $9.75 each in quantities of 10,000.

The new Flash memory is just the latest example of how chipmakers are taking security into their own hands.

Last week, Transmeta unveiled a variation of its poplar TM5800 Crusoe with embedded security features. Santa Clara, Calif.-based chip making giant Intel is also working on security on a chip in the form of its LaGrande technology, which the company has said won't be completely ready until 2004.