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Intel gets back into wireless

Posted: 16 Nov 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless  base band  LTE 

Intel has been trying to get a foot into wireless but has not yet succeeded. Its recent moves, however, indicate that Intel may be getting back into wireless, according to Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts Co.

In 1999 it entered the IS-95-compliant chipset market for CDMA handsets after agreeing to acquire cell phone IC specialist DSP Communications Inc. for Rs.7,147.22 crore ($1.6 billion) in 1999. But Intel had little luck in garnering design wins in CDMA, due in part to stiff competition from Qualcomm Inc.

More recently, Intel rolled out a chip line, Manitoba, which flopped.

However, Intel's recent moves tell a different story. Intel's acquisition of Infineon's base band business, which is taking over Blue Wonder Communications GmbH, a specialist in LTE communications, is one step into the fray. Blue Wonder, founded in 2008, provides LTE IP. The company concluded a funding round in 2009, and the 50-person company claims to have orders for its technology.

A second step is the licensing of Ceva Inc.'s CEVA-XC communication DSP. The device is designed specifically for 4G terminals and wireless infrastructure. It supports multiple air interfaces in software, including LTE, TD-LTE, WiMAX 16m, HSPA+, HSPA, TD-SCDMA, GSM and CDMA.

''It's very simple,'' said Strauss, ''Intel is buying its way into the cell phone chip market with Infineon and others that is has acquired (and likely others, yet).''

For years, Intel has backed WiMAX. Now, it could be making a play in LTE. ''The Ceva-X family of DSP cores is more powerful than the Ceva TeakLite family that Infineon has been using, and likely Intel sees the Ceva-X approach allowing them to better address the emerging LTE market,'' he said in an e-mail.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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