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ARM-based VLSI range to slash cordless phone prices

DECT systems look increasingly poised to wipe out analogue cordless in Europe

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A new ARM-based family of DECT baseband processors from VLSI promises to take digital cordless telephony further into the commodity market. After a slow start DECT (Digital Enhanced Cordless Telephony) systems have started to sell in volume in Europe in the past year, and increased availability of powerful, low-cost chips will accelerate this process. According to Evan Kirstel of DECT design house Cambridge Consultants, VLSI’s new Vega+ family "represents a real step forward for DECT. We’ve already announced an industry-leading sub-$25 DECT handset reference design, and VLSI’s Vega is already at the heart of the product. Vega+ will allow us to push costs down still further." Cambridge is one of a clutch of leading design operations based in the Cambridge area, and specialising in the production of reference designs for cordless and cellular handsets. These designs are then manufactured by large numbers of tier two and tier three companies, so apparently small operations like Cambridge can have a disproportionately large effect on chip sales. The new Vega+ is aimed at low-cost handset and residential base-station applications, and includes on-chip memory and DSP capabilities. It integrates numerous functions that previously required external components, and uses an ARM7TDMI processor. It’ll be available in Q2 99 at under $5 for quantities of a million or more.

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