Broadcom, today announced the availability of a wireless combination chip that enables mobile phones to support FM radio reception as well as including a tiny transmitter for use with a car radio, for example. The company says their solution offers far more functionality than any other single-chip solution on the market, with cost, size, power and performance advantages, making it ideal for handheld electronics.
Broadcom integrates 802.11n Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM technologies on a single silicon die. They keep the coding of “N”, but loose the multiple radios and multiple antennas (for less power and expense). Whether its’ “true” 802.11n might be debatable.
A variety of products based on the Broadcom BCM4325, their “G”, Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM chip, are already on store shelves, and devices based on the Broadcom BCM2049 Bluetooth/FM chip are currently nearing production. Now the BCM4329, adds the 802.11n Wi-Fi technology and FM transmit capabilities to enable even more powerful applications in smaller devices.
The BCM4329 chipset includes both FM transmit and receive capabilities. FM transmit enables consumers to stream music directly from a personal media players (PMPs) or mobile phone to car stereos or home theater systems without having to purchase special adapters or use bulky cables. FM receive is already a popular feature that enables consumers to obtain real-time traffic information as well as listen to music, news and sports broadcasts on their mobile phones.
The BCM4329 also integrates Bluetooth, which is already a ubiquitous feature in mobile phones and PMPs, enabling hands-free communications with wireless headsets, cordless data synchronization and stereo music streaming to headphones and speakers. Since Bluetooth and Wi-Fi operate in the same 2.4 GHz band, both the Broadcom BCM4325 and BCM4329 combination chips use innovative co-existence algorithms and a shared antenna system to minimize interference and provide even better performance than products that use separate Bluetooth and Wi-Fi solutions.
Since handheld devices lack the space, battery power and processing power to support 802.11n implementations with multiple antennas, the BCM4329 uses single-stream 802.11n to transmit and receive data. This significantly reduces the system’s footprint and power consumption when compared to multi-stream solutions. Despite the use of a single antenna, the BCM4329 provides faster and more reliable wireless connections than current 802.11g products.
Broadcoms says the BCM4329 is the industry’s smallest and lowest cost dual-band 802.11n solution. Dual-band capabilities allow Wi-Fi users to leverage the less crowded 5 GHz spectrum. To eliminate the cost and size barriers of adding dual-band functionality to mobile devices, the BCM4329 integrates 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz CMOS power amplifiers rather than using external power amplifiers.
The BCM4329 combination chip is now sampling to early access customers and is scheduled for significant production quantities in 2009. Pricing is available upon request.