CMOS Radios

Barron’s writes about Texas Instruments’ breakthrough:

Before now, cellular phones and other wireless gadgets have required radio chips made of relatively expensive materials like silicon germanium, in order to handle the “analog” waves of radio signals. The rest of a handset’s silicon is made with the same inexpensive stuff used in digital computers — a technology known as CMOS. In its announcement Monday, at the International Solid State Circuits Conference in San Francisco, TI will show how it has put virtually all of a cellular radio’s functions into the same CMOS technology used in TI’s cellphone processor chips.

The digital CMOS radio uses only half the power, and half the space, of existing products. For almost no additional cost in manufacturing or testing, TI will be able to equip its processors with a radio for cellular telephone or another wireless technology like BlueTooth or WiFi. The company hopes that its radio advance will head off competitors who’ve been making a run at TI’s 25% share of the wireless signal processor market — competitors like Qualcomm, Philips, Analog Devices and Intel.

For about 35 cents, TI could add these digital radios to any of its wireless processor chips. The Dallas-based chip maker hopes that its technical splash will rock the boats of a wide range of wireless competitors, ranging from Intel and Philips, to Conexant and Silicon Laboratories.

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Rajesh Jain

An Entrepreneur based in Mumbai, India.