Wednesday, June 20, 2007

UWB's rainbow maker?

What's it take to get ultrawideband going? Most OEMs and chipmakers I have talked to suggest it is cost, cost and cost. Thus they are choosing CMOS and aiming at an integrated transceiver and media access controller. Their goal is to get below $10 fast.

Startup Alereon is taking a different path to a similar goal. It has moved its silicon germanium transceiver from Jazz Semi to IBM to craft a design that spans frequencies from 3 to 10 GHz, covering the waterfront for global UWB use. Most of the CMOS chips are attacking just the 3-4 GHz range used for wireless USB chips in the US with plans to add on 6 GHz for future Bluetooth sometime late next year.

It will be interesting to see who gets to the goal first. The Alereon AL5000 won't itself be in production until early 2008. Even then, the startup won't comment on what its initial costs will be, but it knows it has to sink below $10 fast.

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