National Semiconductor Corp. today climbed into the GSM wireless arena with an integrated radio transceiver-the first phase of the company's emerging wireless-market strategy.
Rolling the chip out during the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, National said it is using the new transceiver as a "spearhead" to gain a leading position in the GSM cell-phone sector. From there, the Santa Clara, Calif., company said it intends to move into other wireless electronics applications, like PDAs, mobile PCs, and portable printers and faxes.
The LMX3411 transceiver chip supports the GSM 1800, GSM 1900, and E-GSM versions of the World GSM standard. National said the chip is more highly integrated than competing devices, giving it cost and size benefits while extending talk time in cell phones.
In addition to its product launch, National rolled out a strategy for the evolution of its wireless communications technology from today's 1G GSM phones through the 2G, 2.5G, and 3G generations.
"National has a detailed roadmap and the intellectual property to enable our customers to execute on this vision, including the unique RF and power management capabilities to fully support the rapidly advancing evolution of wireless technologies," said Bill Stacy, vice president and general manager of the company's Wireless Products Group.
Calling the new transceiver chip "an entry point" for National, Stacy said the company will address the evolving GSM standard by upgrading the cell phone's entire back end, including analog and digital baseband chips.
"As we add data handling and packet-data functions, the system will have to switch frequencies on the fly, which means the lock time of the radio becomes critical," he said. "This will require upgrading of current system designs as we have done with the LMX3411, with new baseband design and software in order to offer cost-effective and reliable operation."
Volume production of the LMX3411 is slated for May, when the device will be priced at $19.60 in 1,000s.