SAN FRANCISCO Integrated baseband chips are being developed for 2.5G and 3G cell phones that merge Intel Corp.'s 400-MHz PXA250 Xscale processor, 400-MHz Micro Signal Architecture DSP and enough on-board flash to handle all DSP and applications code. The company hopes the parts, made in Intel's 0.13-micron process and being worked on at its R&D lab in Israel, can help recreate in the cellular world the kind of high-volume platform Intel and Microsoft forged with the PC.
"Wireless is moving to data so cell phones are moving to the Intel world," said Ron Smith, general manager of Intel's Wireless Communications and Computing Group.
Though carriers have already deployed as many as 35 to 50 General Packet Radio Services systems in North America and perhaps even more in Europe, Smith insisted that his 2.5G part, to be announced this year, is not too late. "This market is still in its infancy," he said in an interview at the Intel Developer Forum. "Anyone who says this all happens at once and the door slams shut is wrong."
The relatively high speed, performance and integration of the Intel parts may help the company intercept the market for handhelds that need greater oomph to deliver more applications or bandwidth, he said.
While the group is porting the Palm, Symbian and Linux OSes to Xscale, it plans to deliver later this year a family of full reference designs for PDAs and smart phones using Microsoft's CE.Net. But don't expect Intel to deliver RF transceivers for those designs. Those parts will come from a partner still to be named.
More Intel Developer Forum coverage.