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Intel takes Manitoba phone chip to 3GSM

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Newswireless.net logoIntel, like Microsoft, isn't a player in the phone business; and like Microsoft, it is starting to realise that the phone business is at least as big as the PC business; so it has designed an integrated processor and DSP chip for the market. It will be shown at the 3GSM Congress in Cannes in two weeks' time.

At an informal meeting in London last night, Intel executives said that the new chip would incorporate the ARM processor variant - the XScale - plus a high performance digital signal processor, together with a substantial chunk of flash memory, all on a tightly integrated "sandwich" construction.

The motivation for this isn't just the perception of a new market for Intel silicon; it's also an attempt to avoid any more embarrassments of the sort that have surrounded Microsoft's Pocket PC Phone Edition and Smartphone launches, which couldn't have Bluetooth integrated into the designs.

Key to the design is a 16 by 16 way interconnect, one of the most parallel connections known in the embedded processor business, and designed to ensure that there is always a pin - or set of pins - ready to carry signals from one half of the Manitoba chip to the other.

According to EE Times the DSP side of the chip was designed by Analog Devices, using a part ADI calls the "Othello" direct-conversion radio unit, plus a DSP circuit Intel and Analog Devices developed together.

The lack of multiple links between RF/DSP and computer halves of the Microsoft designs has meant that it isn't possible to use a standard Bluetooth headset with these phones. The processing delay in shifting the data from the phone side to the computer side was sufficient to take the designs beyond what was permissible in a GSM phone, if it was going to be approved for use on GSM networks.

Intel will reveal more details of Manitoba on February 13th, next week; and will have a massive presence at 3GSM in Cannes the following week, as it prepares to make an impact on wireless. © Newswireless.net

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