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Intel buys WLAN chip maker Mobilian

Bluetooth to become part of Centrino?

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Intel has acquired the assets of little-known wireless networking chip maker Mobilian for an undisclosed sum.

Mobilian's web site was recently updated to state: "Substantially all of the assets of Mobilian have been acquired. Mobilian is discontinuing operations as an independent entity."

Intel today confirmed the deal - made through a cash purchase - which was completed on 31 October.

Privately-owned Mobilian developed TrueRadio, a chipset that offers both 802.11b and Bluetooth wireless connectivity, and allows the protocols to co-exist seamlessly, despite sharing the same 2.4GHz frequency band. Mobilian's product is aimed at PC card makers, and computer and PDA vendors wanting to offer both technologies in their devices.

TrueRadio is a two-chip set based on ARM's ARM7TDMI core.

Mobilian's latest CEO was Manpreet Khaira, an ex-Intel employee. Its previous CEO, Frank Hanzlik, left the company earlier this year to take the helm at industry body The Wi-Fi Alliance.

According to the PBJ, local sources claimed Mobilian had been running out of cash, allowing Intel to acquire the company's assets at a bargain-basement price. At the time of the takeover, the company had 70 employees. Last year it had over 120.

At this stage, it's not clear how Intel will use Mobilian's assets. Its Centrino platform currently supports both 802.11b and dual-band 802.11a/b network options - 802.11g support is expected next year.

Bluetooth is not currently part of the Centrino spec., though the Wireless Pro 2100 and Wireless Pro 2100A WLAN cards both claim to reduce the level of interference between the two network technologies. ®

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