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Intel entering wireless arena again

Posted: 11 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:wireless? baseband? LTE?

Recent moves by Intel Corp. indicate that the company is attempting to buy its way back into the wireless arena, according to Will Strauss, president of Forward Concepts Co.

Intel's acquisition of Infineon's baseband business, which is taking over Blue Wonder Communications GmbH, a specialist in LTE communications, is one step into the fray. Blue Wonder, founded in 2008, provides LTE IP. The company concluded a funding round in 2009, and the 50-person company claims to have orders for its technology.

A second step is the licensing of Ceva Inc.'s CEVA-XC communication DSP. The device is designed specifically for 4G terminals and wireless infrastructure. It supports multiple air interfaces in software, including LTE, TD-LTE, WiMAX 16m, HSPA+, HSPA, TD-SCDMA, GSM and CDMA.

''It's very simple,'' said Strauss, ''Intel is buying its way into the cellphone chip market with Infineon and others that is has acquired (and likely others, yet).''

For years, Intel has backed WiMAX. Now, it could be making a play in LTE. ''The Ceva-X family of DSP cores is more powerful than the Ceva TeakLite family that Infineon has been using, and likely Intel sees the Ceva-X approach allowing them to better address the emerging LTE market,'' he said in an e-mail.

Intel has been trying to get a foot into wireless but has not yet succeeded. In 1999 it entered the IS-95-compliant chipset market for CDMA handsets after agreeing to acquire cellphone IC specialist DSP Communications Inc. for $1.6 billion in 1999. But Intel had little luck in garnering design wins in CDMA, due in part to stiff competition from Qualcomm Inc.

More recently, Intel rolled out a chip line, Manitoba, which flopped.

- Mark LaPedus
EE Times

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