Motorola subsidiary unrolls product roadmap

Motorola subsidiary Freescale Semiconductor has outlined a product roadmap that will take its line of ultra-wideband chipsets...

Motorola subsidiary Freescale Semiconductor has outlined a product roadmap that will take its line of ultra-wideband chipsets from 114mbps to 1gbps over the next year.

Freescale 's existing XtremeSpectrum chipset can support short-range wireless UWB connections up to 114mbps. Samples of the chipset are available to hardware makers, and the chipset will be available commercially during the third quarter.

One of the first suppliers to commit to using the chipset in its products is Taiwanese hardware maker Micro-Star International, which will incorporate the chipset in a PCI card that will ship inside upcoming versions of its Mega PC home entertainment computers.

Freescale will begin shipping samples of its next UWB chipset with support for connections up to 220mbps during the fourth quarter. It will follow the introduction of that chipset with models that can support connections up to 480mbps and 1gbps within the next year.

UWB is seen as an important upgrade for short-range wireless connections. Bluetooth supports data rates up to 1mbps and suppliers are looking for a technology that can support faster connections so that large files, such as digital video, music and digital pictures, can be quickly transferred between devices.

While Freescale looks set to be the first company to make a UWB chipset commercially available, there is another UWB-based technology that is under development with the backing of some of the industry's biggest and most important players.

Freescale's UWB chipsets employ a version of the technology called DS-UWB (Direct Sequence UWB). A different UWB-based technology, called Wireless USB, is being developed by a group of companies that include Intel, Hewlett-Packard, Samsung, Microsoft, NEC and Philips.

The Wireless USB specification, which is based on another version of UWB, called MB-OFDM (Multiband Orthogonal Frequency Division Multiplexing), will be finalised by the end of this year, according to Intel. The first version of Wireless USB will support short-range connections up to 480mbps.

Sumner Lemon writes for IDG News Service

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