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Chip Ahoy!

Soon, handheld devices will harbor wi-fi chips.

This story appears in the February 2004 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

Advances in component integration and power management bychip-makers should bring 802.11 wireless networking to manyhandheld devices this spring and even to some cell phones byyear-end. Wireless chip-maker Broadcom is shipping an 802.11b radio, AirForceOne, that packs more than 100 Wi-Fi components onto a tiny CMOSchip. Air-Force One draws 70 to 80 percent less power duringoperation and up to 97 percent less power in sleep mode thancurrent multichip solutions, says Jeff Abramowitz, Broadcom'ssenior director of wireless LAN in Irvine, California.

Priced even lower than legacy solutions, highly integrated chipsmake built-in Wi-Fi viable for all but the lowest-priced PDAs, saysAllen Nogee, principal analyst for research firm In-Stat/MDR inScottsdale, Arizona. Besides PDAs, consumer electronics vendors andentrepreneurs are considering Wi-Fi in digital cameras, videocameras, MP3 players and gaming devices, says Abramowitz.

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