ABI: Wireless Connectivity Technologies Converging in Computer Chips

Mae : Wireless Mobility Blog
| News and views on everything wireless and mobile, from WiFi and WiMAX to 3G and fixed-mobile convergence (FMC).

ABI: Wireless Connectivity Technologies Converging in Computer Chips

Among manufacturers that make chips and other components found in wireless consumer electronics products like cellphones and PDAs, there is a definite trend toward trying to cram more and more functionality into smaller and smaller spaces.
One way to do this, ABI Research noted in a new report out today, is to create wireless integrated circuits (ICs, also known as computer chips) that truly are integrated in the sense that they bring together multiple wireless connectivity technologies—such as WiFi, GPS, and FM radio.
In other words, the convergence of different wireless communications technologies is being applied to the very chips that power handheld device applications.
ABI predicts that by 2011, 32 percent of all ICs with Bluetooth, WiFi, WiMedia, GPS and FM radio functionality will be “integrated products that are either incorporated into a connectivity package combining two or more solutions, or will be integrated with a host processor or baseband processor.”
Perhaps unsurprisingly, ABI predicts that the two equipment sectors to see the majority of this integration will be cellular handsets and mobile computing.
The change is happening already, ABI said. Analyst Stuart Carlaw used two examples to illustrate this point:
Broadcom’s recently launched BCM4325, which integrates Bluetooth, FM radio and WiFi in a single IC
CSR’s recent acquisitions of NordNav and Cambridge Positioning Systems, in line with the company’s goal to begin producing ICs that combine GPS and Bluetooth
“We are on the cusp of a high level of integration activity, as silicon vendors look to add value to their offerings, diversify, and differentiate themselves in what are increasingly competitive markets,” Carlaw said in a statement.
ABI said in its report that integration is a vital tool silicon vendors must use to maintain margins in markets where original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) are squeezing their suppliers for every last drop.
“It also allows vendors to meet ever stricter OEM requirements for power saving and board space,” ABI said of IC integration. “There is a distinct possibility that the trend towards integration will significantly alter the competitive silicon supplier landscape.”
How do you see this integration changing the marketplace?

Feedback for ABI: Wireless Connectivity Technologies Converging in Computer Chips


Yes, definitely, this makes sense and it is exactly where I was expecting things to go. Technologies are converging, and they always have. Once a new technology comes out, we have multiple standards, but the end is converging them together and making one standard. That's the idea of 'plug 'n play.' We need one standard in technology.
While this does limit creativity somewhat – and that is something we should ensure is NEVER limited – standardizing helps us to push the boundary in the next technological breakthrough. We'll definitely see this happening with wireless more and more, so that we can start breaking into the next big thing (which... I'm not sure what it is yet.)

The denotation art implies some degree of aesthetic value, regardless of any practical value of the art in question.”

This dovetails with my distinction between appreciation(aesthetic) and use(practicality).