NEWS BRIEFS, September 2002

Via Licenses Ericsson Bluetooth Technology

Via Technologies Inc., one of Taiwan's largest chip design companies has licensed Bluetooth intellectual property from Swedish telecommunications giant Ericsson.  The agreement gives Via access to Bluetooth radio and baseband cores, which it said it would apply to PC and mobile applications.  The deal also includes the use of host and embedded software.

Motorola Introduces Digital Radio Chip-set for Analog AM/FM

Motorola's Semiconductor Products Sector is rolling out a "digital radio" chip set, called Symphony, designed to improve tuning, filtering and audio processing of analog AM/FM broadcast signals.  By leveraging software algorithms on a 24-bit DSP-based baseband/audio processor with 1,500 million instructions per second (MIPS) of processing power, Symphony radio can offer consumers less static, fading, pops and hisses while allowing them to receive more AM/FM radio channels.  The company claims that the disparity in sound quality between analog radio and Symphony-based digitally processed radio is comparable to the difference between the sound quality of cassettes and CDs.

IBM Grows Nanotube Patterns on Silicon Wafers

IBM Corp. has grown catalyst-free nano-tube networks on silicon carbide substrates.  With atomic-force microscopy verifying the results, researchers at the T. J. Watson Research Center set up grids of nano-tubes (in rows and columns), bringing the promise of nano-tube transistors arrayed across silicon chips one step closer to reality, IBM said.  IBM also announced a patent for its "cookbook" that shows how to grow the pure, catalyst-free nano-tubes needed in electronics manufacturing, as opposed to the bulk nano-tubes that other suppliers are offering for sale today.

GSM/GPS Module Reduces the Intergration Time

Siemens is presenting a new type of system platform with an integrated GSM and GPS module, TC35 XP.  The embedded system has an open and license-free operating system environment and can be integrated very quickly in systems/devices of all kinds.  Using plug-in, the TC35 XP can also be equipped with other functionality such as GPRS, Bluetooth HCI, additional memory and multimedia cards (MMC).  Due to its open system architecture and expansion possibilities through plug-in, the TC35 XP will help to significantly reduce device development times and so speed up time-to-market.  Possible areas of application include mobile fleet management, modern traffic control systems, tele-services, security systems, and vending machines.

Murata Makes Bluetooth Move

Murata Electronics has unveiled an extremely small Bluetooth module integrating active devices and passive components for the wireless market.  The full host controller interface (HCI) level unit, designated Blue Module, measures 9.8mm by 9.6mm by 1.8mm and is designed with Murata’s low-temperature co-fired Ceramics (LTCC) technology.  The module includes flash memory mounted in the bottom cavity of the substrate; band pass filters and other passives realized within the device; a RF and baseband one-chip IC (Cambridge Silicon Radio’s BlueCore02), crystal oscillator and additional passives that are mounted on the substrate.

Toshiba Introduces Bluetooth Card for Mobile Applications

Toshiba America Electronic Components (TAEC) has launched a new Secure Digital IO (SDIO) Card in support of wireless digital uploads and downloads between suitably-equipped PCs, PDAs, mobile phones and digital still cameras.  Toshiba's Bluetooth SDIO card supports wireless data exchange between mobile phones and a PC up to a maximum distance of approximately 10 meters, either via a built-in Bluetooth module or by inserting a Bluetooth PC card.

Stand-alone GPS Receiver Offers Direct Internet Connection

Thales Navigation has introduced a new GPS receiver that provides direct Internet connectivity by means of a 12-channel, dual-frequency geodetic reference station that does not require the use of a laptop or other computer system to implement all data control, monitoring, or downloading functions.

Featuring an embedded PC running Linux, the iCGRS system includes all necessary components for continuous collection of high-quality, dual-frequency GPS data.  Data can be downloaded from the iCGRS while the receiver continues tracking and logging data.  iCGRS can even send e-mail error notifications automatically.  The device consumes just 8 watts of power in comparison to the 30-watt minimum requirements for external PC systems.  Developed for high-accuracy applications, iCGRS can serve as a permanent GPS base station that can even be powered from solar cells.

The iCGRS system is delivered with Micro-Manager, a Windows 95/NT-control software package that provides complete control over the receiver.  This software package gives users the ability to set receiver parameters, program recording sessions, download data, and upload new firmware through a direct serial connection.

Agere Rolls Out New Clock Driver Family

Agere Systems Inc. has introduced a family of low power clock driver chips, include the LCK4972, LCK4973, and LCK4973V, LCK4310 chips.  All four operate at 3.3V and 2.5V.  Compared with competing chips, the LCK4972 and LCK4973 achieve 50 percent less jitter, while the LCK4973V achieves 20 percent less jitter, the company said.

Motorola and IBM Unveil Single Chip GPS Device

Motorola Inc., working with IBM Microelectronics, has announced Motorola Instant GPS, a self-contained, single-chip, assisted global positioning system (A-GPS) receiver that the companies are aiming at portable devices across the board.  Through a joint design effort, the A-GPS combines Motorola's GPS design with IBM's silicon germanium (SiGe) technology.  According to Motorola, the technology integrates both 1.5GHz RF front-end and the digital baseband processing into a single die, measures 7mm-by-7mm and supports 1.8V to 3.3V interfaces.  Base on the design with a low intermediate frequency RF architecture to improve jamming immunity, Motorola claims that Instant GPS allows for co-location with transmitters such as GSM and Bluetooth, and an onboard fractional synthesizer allows existing 12MHz to 26MHz reference oscillators within the target product to be reused.  So that a separate reference oscillator is not required.

RF Micro Devices Opens Beijing Facility

RF Micro Devices has begun production shipments from its new test, tape and reel facility in the Beijing Xingwang Industrial Park of the Beijing Economic and Technological Development Area.  The facility serves as the final stage of assembly for components manufactured at the Company's Greensboro, North Carolina facility.  By the end of 2002, RF Micro Devices expects the new facility will be processing more than 10 million modules.  The facility provides direct, local support to Chinese handset manufacturers, original design manufacturers (ODMs) and international handset manufacturers with operations in China.