Chipmakers Get Tied Up in Home Networking

Wireless networking gets all the love in today’s mobile world, but inside the home, wires will still play a key role in delivering entertainment and other content. Your set-top box may sport an Ethernet port, but it still connects to the wall via coaxial cable. Wires are a secure, fast, cheap and existing network inside most homes. The main links around the home are power lines, coaxial cable, copper phone wires or some mix of the three, depending on where in the world a person lives. But the three standards vying for dominance today could gradually give ground to an emerging standard for delivering IP-based services called G.hn. Read More about Chipmakers Get Tied Up in Home Networking

WiGig Alliance to Push 6 Gbps Wireless in the Home

wigigA group of big-name technology companies including Intel (s INTC), Dell (s DELL), Broadcom (s BRCM) and Marvell (s MRVL) have joined together to promote a new wireless standard that could deliver between 1 gigabit per second to 6 Gbps inside the home. Chipmaking startup Wilocity is also part of the effort.

The Wireless Gigabit (WiGig) Alliance plans to use the 60 GHz spectrum, already in use for other types of high-data-rate wireless transmissions, for a variety of functions such as replacing the HDMI cable between a TV and a computer. Other options include delivering wireless gaming and home storage networking. The specification for the standard should be set by the end of this year, and devices containing the chips could be sold as early as 2010. Read More about WiGig Alliance to Push 6 Gbps Wireless in the Home

Qualcomm Ends IP Feud, Will Pay Broadcom $891M

Qualcomm and Broadcom, two of the primary communications chip firms, agreed today to end their long-standing intellectual property feud, with Qualcomm agreeing to pay out $891 million to Broadcom over four years. Qualcomm (s QCOM), which owns the intellectual property related to the CDMA 3G wireless standard, has been defending itself from patent infringement claims made by Broadcom (s brcm), a key provider of silicon for Wi-Fi, GPS and Ethernet.
Under the terms of the settlement, Qualcomm will pay Broadcom $891 million in cash over a period of four years, of which $200 million will be paid in the quarter ending June 30 of this year. The agreement does not provide for any other scheduled payments between the parties.
It also appears that Broadcom won’t sue Qualcomm’s customers on the cellular side, and Qualcomm won’t sue Broadcom’s customers in the non-cellular world. This is relevant because, in 2007, Verizon (s VZ) ended up agreeing to pay a royalty fee to Broadcom after the International Trade Commission determined that Qualcomm chips used in Verizon phones violated Broadcom’s intellectual property. Under the terms of this deal it looks like Verizon Wireless, as a cellular company, could have avoided paying a double royalty to both chip firms.

Broadcom’s Emulex Bid Inspired by Cisco’s Data Center Push

Broadcom (s BRCM) made an unsolicited bid of $764 million for Fibre Channel chipmaker Emulex (s ELX) this morning, a deal that offers a 40 percent premium over Emulex’s share price at Monday’s market close. Broadcom, which is an industry leader in Ethernet chips that help connect servers inside the data center, is now trying to get its hands on the chips that hook the computers to the storage network. This move is in line with those made by gear makers Cisco (s CSCO) and Juniper (s JNPR), which are pushing for a more prominent role for networking in the data center. Read More about Broadcom’s Emulex Bid Inspired by Cisco’s Data Center Push

TriSpecs Stereo Bluetooth Sunglasses: Look Good, Hear Good

I have seen numerous attempts at making Bluetooth Headsets out of sunglasses but none I would even consider wearing in public. That hasn’t changed but the TriSpecs come much closer to hitting the fashion/ function sweet spot.
Gadling has reviewed the TriSpecs and found them to be good, quality headsets in addition to high-quality shades. The earbuds wind up into the shade earpieces and overall they look almost like normal sunglasses. The TriSpecs start at $200 so you’d better be sure you like what you look like before you shell out the bucks.
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Chumby and Broadcom Hope to Bring the Web to TV

chumby_logo_text90Broadcom (s BRCM) said today that it would make sure content from Chumby, a nascent widget syndication effort for televisions, would run on its chips for digital televisions and set-top boxes. Shriraj Gaglani, a senior director of business development for Broadcom,  thinks Chumby will get consumers psyched about accessing the web through their TVs.

He likens the Chumby platform to a cell phone’s application store and says, “What we’ve felt we lacked in the ecosystem is the critical mass of apps and services that can leverage broadband televisions.”

For anyone who recalls the Chumby as a countertop device for accessing widgets, you’re thinking of the right company. It’s merely joining a growing pack of those looking expand its efforts beyond hardware to become a platform. In January it signed a similar integration deal with Marvell (s MRVL) to get its widget platform onto digital picture frames. For more on bringing the web to televisions check out the full story on GigaOM.

Chipmakers Hope Widgets Bring the Web to TV

chumby_logo_text90Broadcom (s BRCM) said today that it would make sure content from Chumby, a nascent widget syndication effort for televisions, would run on its chips. It’s one of a handful of integration deals Broadcom has inked with software vendors to port their content to its chips. As broadband reaches more devices, deals between chipmakers and software vendors like these are becoming increasingly important.

For anyone who recalls the Chumby as a countertop device for accessing widgets, you’re thinking of the right company. It’s merely joining a growing pack of those looking expand its efforts beyond hardware to become a platform. In January it signed a similar integration deal with Marvell (s MRVL) to get its widget platform onto digital picture frames.

Such heightened integration efforts are a natural outgrowth of adding broadband to phones, TVs, set-top boxes or even picture frames, because when you add broadband, you add the Internet. And as the mobile world has shown, no one wants a bastardized version of a “mobile web” or a “TV web;” they want the real deal. So that means the chips powering these devices need to be smarter, and have the right software to deliver a web-like experience on a screen that doesn’t belong to the PC. Read More about Chipmakers Hope Widgets Bring the Web to TV

Trends to Watch For at Mobile World Congress

Next week, while most Americans are lounging about in honor of President’s Day, the people responsible for your mobile phones, netbooks and cellular networks will converge on Barcelona for the Mobile World Congress trade show. Check back on Monday for clues as to what type of devices you’ll be toting in your pockets and purses next year, but in the meantime, here are a few things to look out for, whether you’re at the show or merely monitoring it from elsewhere. Read More about Trends to Watch For at Mobile World Congress

Broadcom Enables Cheaper Android Phones

androidlogoIntegration is the theme of the day today, with Broadcom (s BRCM) announcing that the Android operating system will run on its multiradio chip, which offers Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio. It also announced open access to those drivers, allowing developers to play with the functionality offered by the chips and (hopefully) create new applications.

The move will serve to boost the Android platform, because now instead of three radios taking up space on small devices, a handset manufacturer will only need one — which means smaller and less expensive devices will be able to run on it. Read More about Broadcom Enables Cheaper Android Phones

GigaOM Interview: Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor

keyexec_mcgregorHeading into 2009, web-connected consumer electronics are finally on the horizon, and players from Cisco to AT&T are salivating at the opportunity. But in the welter of wires connecting our devices, Broadcom sees an opportunity to offer chips that can connect devices to each other, the home network and even back out to the web at large. And while the downturn will take its toll, the chipmaker’s strategy of integrating a variety of wireless radios on a single chip for inclusion in these connected devices has already started to pay off. Read More about GigaOM Interview: Broadcom CEO Scott McGregor