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IDF Intel plans to integrate Bluetooth onto its next-generation Wi-Fi sub-system, it has emerged.

Speaking during his IDF keynote, Sean Maloney, Intel general manager of the company's Communications Group, revealed the chip maker is to offer a "specially designed low-power... integrated Bluetooth/Wi-Fi device".

The module, he said, will be "going into production later this year".

Maloney compared the new module to the Wi-Fi mini-PCI module which Intel currently offers as a part of its Centrino mobile platform bundle. In its "current state", the new unit is around half the size of its predecessor; and Maloney confidently said the part will contract further by the time it ships, shrinking to an area of roughly 1cm² or so.

The part Maloney described is likely to be Intel's upcoming Calexico 2 part - though Maloney himself did not use the codename. Calexico 2 will form a key part of Sonoma, the second generation of the Centrino platform, due to ship next autumn, as we revealed yesterday.

Calexico 2 is an 802.11a/b/g device, developed in-house by Intel, unlike the company's initial Centrino Wi-Fi silicon. Sonoma is also founded upon the upcoming Alviso mobile chipset, which incorporates advanced Bluetooth/Wi-Fi co-existence technology.

Maloney said the company is working on its fourth-generation Centrino Wi-Fi module design, boosting throughput, range and the speed at which the client establishes a link with the access point. ®

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