Sensors, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS... put a SoC in it, Broadcom. Oh, you have

Plus other wireless chippery from Qualcomm and Realtek

Fabless chip designer Broadcom has unveiled a new system-on-chip (SoC) that combines ultra-low power consumption with GPS capabilities for the first time.

The Broadcom BCM4773 chip includes Wi-Fi, Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE), GPS, and micro electro-mechanical systems (MEMS) support on a single die, and the firm is pitching it for wearables, low-cost smartphones, and embedded sensor arrays.

The firm claims the new chip consumes over 80 per cent less power than similar chips by offloading data to an applications processor.

It also crams a GPS receiver and a full sensor hub onto a single piece of silicon, cutting the die area usually needed to marry the two by 34 per cent.

"We are proud to make all mobile platforms even smarter by enabling them to dynamically predict and react to consumers' needs," said Mohamed Awad, Broadcom director of wireless connectivity in a canned statement.

Having Wi-Fi and GPS on the same chip makes the SoC highly accurate, Broadcom claims, since it makes triangulation of location much simpler. At the same time, the low-power nature of the chip makes it a tempting pick for the burgeoning wearables market.

Broadcom says it has the chips in production already but hasn't released pricing details as yet.

Meanwhile, this week Qualcomm announced its quad-core ARM-compatible Snapdragon 210 system-on-chip with LTE support, and the 208 with 3G, for sub-$100 smartphones, due out next year.

And Realtek will bring out an ARM Cortex-M3 powered microcontroller, the RTL8195AM, which has Wi-Fi and SSL support in hardware, plus serial and other IO, for home sensors and appliances. Meanwhile, the new RTL8723BS controller has Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio for portable gadgets. ®

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