Broadcom introduced its first two-chip voice-over-IP (VoIP) chipset yesterday, pitching the product at consumer Wi-Fi phones.
The move also appears to send out a signal that the company really has no need to acquire rival Wi-Fi chip maker Agere, contrary to recent speculation.
The chipset comprises Broadcom's new BCM1160 VoIP chip, which connects up to the WLAN via the company's existing BCM4318 AirForce One 54g part. Interestingly, the 1160 can also hook up to Broadcom Bluetooth chip.
The 1160 is based on an ARM9 core, and includes an analogue voice codec, along with 1.3 megapixel camera, microphone, keypad, 262,000-colour LCD and USB controllers, Flash and SRAM memory managers, and a battery-managing power sub-system.
The 4318 provides 802.11g support, extended with Broadcom's 54g proprietary performance boosting technology. It also supports the Wi-Fi Alliance's Wi-Fi Multimedia quality of service system, itself part of the as-yet-unratified 802.11e quality of service standard.
Broadcom's 1160 announcement yesterday follows weeks of speculation that the company is about to buy rival chip maker Agere, or at least the latter's Wi-Fi chip operation. Claims that such an outcome was on the cards emerged after the two companies said they had settled their two-year-long WLAN patent dispute.
In fact, as Agere itself admitted late September 2004, it is abandoning the desktop WLAN market in favour of a focus on VoIP-oriented Wi-Fi "mobility" products. The company is ridding itself of 500 workers, including all the remaining staff at its Netherlands Wi-Fi development centre. Ex-Agere staffers tell us that leaves the company stripped of Wi-Fi expertise. ®
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