Atheros, Qualcomm Team on Wi-Fi Phone Chips

The companies plan to collaborate on chip sets that support Wi-Fi data transfers on mobile phones.

Atheros Communications and Qualcomm on Feb. 10 announced plans to collaborate on mobile phone chip sets that support both cellular and Wi-Fi data transfers.

The companies have established interoperability between Atheros ROCm (Radio-on-Chip for Mobile) Wi-Fi chip platform and several of Qualcomms CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) cellular chip sets, and put the two together into a form factor designed for small devices, officials said.

/zimages/5/28571.gifClick here to read about Qualcomms mobile chip deal with Samsung.

The companies will be demonstrating the result at the 3GSM World Congress in Barcelona during the week of Feb. 13.

Handsets using the combined solution will support both cellular and 802.11a/g and 802.11g Wi-Fi.

/zimages/5/28571.gifRead more here about a WLAN (wireless LAN) chip set from Atheros.

"Our relationship has resulted in the combination of two of the worlds most popular wireless technologies in a single solution," said Craig Barratt, president and CEO of Atheros, in Santa Clara, Calif., in a statement.

"This will result in true mobility, enabling wireless users to achieve anywhere, anytime connectivity to people, content and services."

A reference design using the combination chip set will be available to phone makers in June, officials said. Phones built based on the reference design should hit the market by the end of 2006.

The initial version, while supporting both Wi-Fi and cellular communications, will not allow for seamless handoff between the two. The companies are considering this capability in upcoming versions, Atheros officials said.

"It is the goal ultimately to have phones that can run seamlessly across a network," said Todd Antes, vice president of marketing at Atheros.

Qualcomm announced a similar agreement with Philips Semiconductor in September.

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