Friday, February 10, 2006

STMicro chip puts Wi-Fi in cell phones

For the chipheads in the audience, Networkworld reports that STMicroelectronics "has begun mass production of its first cellular-phone wireless LAN chip." According to the article, the compact STLC4370 chip, based on 802.11g technology, "provides power-efficient, high-speed wireless performance," and can "fit into devices of different shapes and types, including the candy bar-style, compact PDAs and fold-open keyboard designs."

The chip costs $10 in quantities of 100,000 units, and is claimed to be "included in the design of several recently launched Wi-Fi cellular handsets." STMicro plans to "release two more chips in the same family using the 802.11b/g and 802.11a/b/g specifications. Second-generation versions of the chip will go into production around the end of second quarter, and those will be smaller."

Ellen Daley at Forrester Research noted "device manufacturers are heavily focused on wireless LAN chips for cellular phones." Daley stated "dual-mode devices are in demand by companies," who "hope the technology can save on cellular phone bills by using VoIP over wireless LAN."

There are still challenges due to technology and the fear by network operators that dual-mode devices might "potentially cannibalize their revenue." daley said, "We are anticipating that market to really heat up a lot more in 2007."