ROLLING MEADOWS, Ill. -- In an effort to enable wireless Internet access via low-cost handsets, PrairieComm Inc. here has announced the development of its latest cellular-handset baseband processor, designed to support the EDGE wireless standard.
As an extension of the company's previously introduced PCI3700 baseband processor, the new PCI3800 is PrairieComm's first to support Enhanced Data rate for Global Environment (EDGE), the Time Division Multiple Access (TDMA) and Global Standard for Mobile Communications (GSM) standard for 3G handsets.
EDGE is expected to enable subscribers to wirelessly access the Internet at a data rate of up to 237 kilobits per second."The Internet and wireless are converging and it's very clear that there are many more handsets sold around the world than personal computers," said Jim Baraban, product marketing manager for TDMA and GSM technologies at PrairieComm.
"Most people in the world haven't experienced the Internet," he said. "The majority of the world's first experience with the Internet will be through a wireless terminal, and that's where EDGE and high-speed data packets come into play."
To date, PrairieComm's customer base has been second-tier handset manufacturers, which increasingly rely on component suppliers to deliver system-level solutions.
PrairieComm is working with unnamed customers in the United States and Europe that plan to use the PCI3800, according to Baraban.
"Our value proposition is that we don't just deliver components," Baraban said. "We have a breadth of knowledge in the company. We become an extension of our customers' engineering staffs, supplying the baseband parts and helping the customer develop and deliver their handsets."
Like the PCI3700, the PCI3800 is based on an ARM RISC processor and Oak DSP core, he said.
The PCI3800 also provides support for Bluetooth short-range wireless connectivity, which will allow handsets to transmit data to PDAs and PCs. The processor will also support voice recognition for use in hands-free operation.
PrairieComm plans to have samples of the PCI3800 this quarter, with production set for the fourth quarter or early in the first quarter of 2001.