Broadcom Rolls Out 3G Phone on a Chip

Broadcom's single-chip processor integrates key 3G technologies.

Claiming a major competitive advantage over rival chip makers, Broadcom said Oct. 15 it has developed a low-power, single-chip processor that integrates all major features of 3G technology.

The BCM21551—code-named Zeus—combines a high-speed third-generation baseband, a multiband radio frequency transceiver, Bluetooth, and an FM radio receiver and transmitter. The device also features advanced multimedia processing, up to 5-megapixel camera support and 30-frame-per-second video capability.

"With what we believe is more than a full years lead over similar competing products, this new 3G solution should place Broadcom squarely at the head of the hyper-competitive 3G chip race," Yossi Cohen, senior vice president and general manager of Broadcoms Mobile Platforms Group, said in a teleconference given from Irvine, Calif. "This is truly amazing engineering execution. … Our investments in multimodal wireless and high-definition multimedia technologies will further widen our mobile technology leadership in the coming years."


Click here to read more about Broadcoms chips for 3G phones.

Phones carrying the new chip will be able to download content at up to 7.2M bps and upload content such as pictures and videos at up to 5.8M bps. The chip can also be paired with other Broadcom devices, such as Wi-Fi and GPS.

"A single-chip mobile phone is the holy grail of the industry," Cohen said. "This is a very significant step forward from 2G to 3G."

He said advancements in mobile phone designs, such as the proliferation of extensive Internet applications and Web services, multimedia, high-resolution video and still cameras, games, and music, are all driving a need for faster cellular networks and an appetite for rich multimedia phones that can take advantage of them.

The chip is built on a single 65-nanometer CMOS die. Broadcom said the 65-nm design allows for large volume manufacturing and for lower power consumption, smaller size and higher levels of integration.

While Cohen wouldnt comment on which cell phone vendors Broadcom is working with, the company in the last year has announced 3G deals with Nokia, the worlds largest cell phone maker, and the second-largest, Samsung.

Cohen said he expected the new Broadcom chips to begin showing up in cell phones by 2008.


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