Marvell today announced a low-power 802.11ac combination radio chip designed to improve the mobile computing and multimedia for consumers. The Avastar 88W8897 is said to be the industry’s first 802.11ac 2×2 combination radio chip, pairing it with near field communications (NFC) and Bluetooth 4.0 along with mobile multiple input multiple output (MIMO), transmit beamforming and support for WI-FI CERTIFIED Miracast™ once it becomes available. It should start shipping to consumers by “this time next year”.
Miracast, expected to be certified later this year, allows consumers to stream video from their ultrabook or tablet to a larger display in 5GHz while simultaneously surfing the Internet without losing the connection in 2.4GHz. Miracast-compatible products may be available later this year. Qualcomm’s Atheros unit is also likely to offer WiFi display technology.
Marvell’s latest WiFi chips includes advanced power management features and are designed specifically for ultrabooks, tablets, gaming consoles and smart TVs. Marvell says the new chip enhances the performance of current consumer electronic devices, and enables new applications and products in mobile commerce, digital entertainment, healthcare and electronic security. The system-on-a-chip (SoC) integration is said to enable a bill of materials reduction of 40-to-50 percent and cost reduction of 75 percent compared to previous wireless solutions.
In other news, and coinciding with the recent launch of Sprint’s 4G LTE network in Dallas this week, Sprint has announced their first tri-mode mobile broadband device, the Sierra Tri-Fi Hotspot. It can connect to Sprint’s nationwide 3G network, or the 4G WiMAX network (which is available in approximately 60 cities and will not be expanded elsewhere), and the brand new 4G LTE network, which is currently available only in Dallas but will be expanding rapidly in 2012 and 2013.