Broadcom (BRCM) on Monday launched a “3G phone on a chip” that combines key mobile technologies on one low power processor.
Typically, these sort of announcements wouldn’t grab my attention, but if you carry this 3G phone on a chip concept far enough you could feature-packed phones on the cheap by cutting manufacturing costs. Longer battery life and new form factors won’t hurt either.
In techspeak, Broadcom is launching a single-chip high-speed packet access [HSPA] processor that runs on a single 65 nanometer die. For Broadcom the idea is to enable new third generation (3G) devices with long battery life and new forms.
Broadcom’s chip (the BCM21551 formerly codenamed Zeus) includes Bluetooth 2.1, an FM radio receiver and transmitter, up to five megapixel camera support, 30 frame per second video with TV out and support for all cellular protocols. It also works for all mobile operating systems. Yossi Cohen, senior vice president and general manager of Broadcom’s mobile platforms group, said on a conference call that your phone can pick up FM radio, a feature that’s common in Europe.
Cohen estimates that Broadcom has a year head-start on its rivals.
As for strategy, Broadcom hopes to take its 3G phone on a chip rollout and then combine it with other products such as its Wi-Fi, GPS and multimedia processors.
The chip is available now and priced at $23 “in large quantities.”