New Ericsson Module Delivers Mobile Broadband to Consumer Electronics

Ericsson's vision of an "all-communicating world" is now that much closer to reality. The 2G-, 3G- and 4G-technology provider introduced a tiny, low-power module for embedding high-speed HSPA mobile broadband connectivity in consumer electronics.

Ericsson has introduced a new mobile broadband module, its fourth in 12 months. While the last, introduced, in June, put the focus on netbooks, this new module, the C3706w, looks to bring embedded, high-speed wireless connectivity to consumer electronics (CE) such as GPS navigators, e-book readers and media players.

The CE module is one-third the size of previous Ericsson modules, which creates opportunities for device designers. It's also capable of reaching uplink speeds of 5.76 Mbps, while using 40 percent less power than previous modules.

Additionally, the CE module features a self-contained design - what Ericsson refers to as "plug and play," meaning it can work with multiple platforms, as well as "wake-on wireless" capabilities that enable it to wake up devices from sleep mode.

Ericsson offers this capability for PCs, says Jan Backman, director of marketing with Ericsson's Mobile Broadband Modules group, "Now, we're bringing that to consumer electronics. For instance, it can wake up an e-book, based on a particular news alert. If you have it in your pocket or bag, it can bring up the news." It's also an ideal fit for security and messaging applications.

"Our vision is clear: all devices that can be connected will be connected, as the technology required for an all-communicating world is now here," said Mats Norin, vice president of the Mobile Broadband Modules group, in a statement. "This module opens a new realm of possibilities and innovation for the consumer electronics industry as they can now easily and cost-effectively integrate the power and speed of mobile broadband in today's and tomorrow's devices."

Backman calls the module the first proof - or big outcome - of Ericsson's relationship with Intel. The two have worked to bring HSPA data solutions to Intel's "Moorestown" platform-based mobile Internet devices, or MIDs. Though the CE module is "open to work with any processor platform," Backman told eWEEK, the two have worked together to successfully optimize battery consumption.

Pankaj Kedia, director of global ecosystem programs at Intel's Ultra Mobility Group, remarked in a statement, "At Intel, we are working to bring the benefits of PC-like, rich and visually appealing Internet experiences to a range of mobile devices, including next-generation handhelds and netbooks." Kedia called the high-performance and low-power needs of Intel's Moorestown platform, coupled with Ericsson's 3G module, an "exciting combination" that will "go a long way in helping to realize this vision."

The C3607w was unveiled at the Intel Developer Forum, running Sept. 22-24 in San Francisco. It will begin shipping in the first quarter of 2010.