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Broadcom moves past LTE, 5G cellular to refocus in broadband

Posted: 13 Jan 2015 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Broadcom? LTE? 5G cellular? broadband? Qualcomm?

Chinese fabless companies join connectivity bandwagon

EE Times: With all the capital going into the Chinese semiconductor industry, I hear that a lot of Chinese fabless companies have money to burn. They've begun licensing connectivity technologies from others because they want to be in that business [of modem and connectivity] for smartphones.

Shanghai-based Spreadtrum, a successful vendor of baseband chips but with no connectivity solutions, recently licensed connectivity IP core, such as Bluetooth Low Energy, from Ceva. And Spreadtrum isn't alone making such deals.

Now, to me, that means trouble for Broadcom. No?

McGregor: Oh, potentially. But you can make the same argument about Samsung, LSI or Huawei. But at the end of the day, they use our connectivity chips. There are big differences between the best and almost the best...or not at all the best. I think people want to have the best technologies in these spaces. You need that to win specs, market values, and there are a lot of features you enable with these products.

To give you an example, GPS has been an area that we've differentiated for a while. There is a big difference in how many constellations you see. If you can see one more satellite, because you include European's Galileo satellite and others don't, it makes a huge difference in driving down a city street in New York.

5G WiFi

5G WiFi showcased at Broadcom's booth

EE Times: Now that you are out of the LTE modem business, are out of the race or out of the running for 5G wireless?

McGregor: 5G cellular, we're not working on that. But 5G WiFi, that's our domain. We pioneer that technology. Absolutely, that's our strength and we will continue that.

EE Times: So, why does Broadcom feel confident not participating in 5G cellular?

McGregor: Well, today, that's where we decided to spend less money. So, we can spend more money on other things. It means we will not have necessarily 5G baseband technology. We could re-enter the market sometime if market economics change, but you know, today, we think investment is better spent on other things.

Broadcom CEO on IoT, iGrill and 4K UHDTV

EE Times: What have you seen on the show so far?

McGregor: Customers who come through today are finding our automotive platform also applies to avionics. We are finding the Internet of Things makes a lot of sense for devices we've never thought of. I met with a customer, one of the largest makers of kitchen appliances. They told us they are going to put WiFi in pretty much all of their appliances.

You know, for an average American, it's sort of a head scratcher. "Why would anyone want to connect an oven with Internet?"

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