TI Readies Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM Chip

Hot on the heels of Broadcom’s announcement last week of a chip that will integrate Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and even FM radio reception for use in handhelds comes Texas Instruments (TI) with the direct competition.

The new WiLink 6.0 chip will go one better on the Wi-Fi end by supporting draft 802.11n, and not just in the 2.4 GHz radio frequency but also 5 GHz (TI has supported 5 GHz on the WiLink chip since version 4.0). TI says WiLink will also run Bluetooth 2.1+EDR (Broadcom is starting with 2.0, upgradeable to 2.1). Both the chips are made in 65 nanometer process.

Amir Faintuch, the director for TI’s WPAN mWLAN Business (that’s wireless personal area network and mobile wireless LAN) says the cost of integrating Wi-Fi or Bluetooth by itself is a “top commodity, but by integrating them you see our value proposition: there’s a 60 to 70% reduction. Without that, we wouldn’t have the attach rate we do.”

The WiLink 6.0 won’t be in phones until 2008, just like Broadcom’s chip.

TI also announced a chip with just Bluetooth and FM on it, the BlueLink 7.0, its second generation integrating the technologies. It will have a further 30% power consumption reduction, and should be in phones before the end of this year.

Also announced today, NXP Semiconductors of the Netherlands (formerly Philips Semiconductors) said its NXP Nexperia cellular system solution 5210 will be out this year. It uses unlicensed mobile access (UMA) software from Kinteto Wireless and makes sure that Bluetooth (running on the 2.4 GHz band) coexists well with 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi in the same handset. TI and Broadcom overcome this problem with their own built-in algorithms, but as more handsets come out with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth that isn’t necessarily integrated, solutions like NXP’s may be vital to using the phone as expected on a non-interfering GSM-type cellular network.

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