TI Bets $100 Million on 3G

By Carmen Nobel  |  Posted 2001-03-05

To accelerate software development on its new mobile device architecture, Texas Instruments Inc. is investing $100 million in next-generation wireless applications. The Dallas company plans to disperse the money over the next 12 to 18 months to developers who write applications for its OMAP (Open Multimedia Applications Platform). The architecture will let applications take advantage of higher-speed networks that wireless carriers are supposed to start rolling out in the United States by the end of the year.

The initial upgrade to the networks is termed 2.5G, which refers to an interim step between the current networks that cant handle data applications much more complicated than e-mail and the 3G, or third-generation, networks that will be able to handle streaming video applications.

OMAP supports Symbian Ltd.s Epoc and Microsoft Corp.s Windows CE operating systems as well as Sun Microsystems Inc.s Java 2 Micro Edition.

Handspring Inc., Nokia Corp. and Ericsson Mobile Communications AB plan to build devices based on OMAP by years end. But the applications to run on those devices are still lacking.

In developing products for 3G, TI must first deal with the carriers, such as Sprint Corp., which decide whether and when to roll out the high-speed networks. TI does not have direct relationships with the carriers.

At the 3GSM World Congress in Cannes, France, last month, many attendees referred to 3G as "overhyped," including Carl Yankowski, CEO of Palm Inc., in Santa Clara, Calif.

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