Broadcom launches cheap 3G chip

What’s holding back 3G cellular technology in the United States? Good question. It could be the ludicrously high cost of building out the 3G networks themselves, though all the major carriers now appear to be taking steps in that direction. It could also be the high price of 3G compatible chips, which has in turn, kept the price of 3G-compatible handsets out of reach for the average Joe. It could also be the high power consumption of 3G radios, which has kept 3G out of a few high-profile devices (look to your right).

Well, there’s relatively little that can be done about the first problem, but this might make a dent in the latter two: Broadcom has just announced a new 3G chip that could be much more attractive to manufacturers of mobile devices. Broadcom’s BCM21551, which the company is calling a “3G phone on a chip,” boasts a 3G radio, a multiband RF transceiver (EDGE, HSUPA, HSDPA, and WCDMA), Bluetooth 2.1 and even a FM radio transmitter and receiver. Best of all, this single 65nm chip is said to lend itself to a “very long battery life,” when compared to multi-chip solutions. Broadcom is selling the chips to OEMs now, for the low price of $23 in large quantities, so it’s also attractive from a cost standpoint. Fanboys and rumormongers, start your engines…

For more on the 3G phone on a chip:
– see this Ars Technica article

More stories about Microprocessors   Hardware News   Power Consumption   HSDPA   Mobile Devices  


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