Intel takes wraps off wireless chip

Hoping to capitalize on the growing functionality of today's mobile devices, Intel on Thursday unveiled its new "Wireless-Internet-on-a-chip" cellular processor.

Chip manufacturer Intel said the PXA800F single-chip processor -- previously known as "Manitoba" -- features ARM-based XScale processor core technology, 512KB of Intel On-Line Flash memory, 64KB of SRAM and an on-chip digital signal processor (DSP) running at 104MHz.

The Intel PXA800F will be targeted for use in mobile devices -- specifically cell phone and "smart" phones -- that are compatible with high-speed wireless networks, including GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) and GSM (Global System for Mobile communications).

The chip will help mobile device vendors increase power consumption, reduce heat, extend battery life and improve the form factor of data-enabled cell phones, PDAs, and smart phones, Intel said.

Intel added the cellular processor will enable 3G development of advanced multimedia handset features, including small Java applets, wireless e-mail and Internet access and audio file playback. Production volumes for the PXA800F cellular processor are expected in the third quarter of 2003, Intel announced, with products using the new processors slated for later this year. Pricing starts at US$35 in 10,000 unit quantities.

Intel's new chip is expected to put heat on mobile phone market rivals Texas Instruments (TI) and Motorola. Earlier this month Dallas-based TI released its new line of OMAP (open multimedia applications platform) wireless chips which feature on-chip security hardware based on the ARM926 core and run at 200MHz. TI said the chip should be in volume production by the fourth quarter of this year.

Motorola also earlier this month announced new additions to its portfolio of processors for the networking and telecommunications industry; on Thursday the Schaumburg, Ill.-based mobile telecommunications infrastructure maker revealed that later this year it will release a mobile phone that supports Java and the Linux OS.

Details on the Intel PXA800F can be found at www.intel.com/info/gprs.

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