Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Broadcom finally brings WiFi 802.11n to mobile phones

I've been so passionate when it comes to WiFi, this particular wireless technology has helped build a new meaning of being mobile in the past years. WiFi, or known as 802.11 in its scientific name has reached from a/b/g wireless type to the latest 'n' type (read the full explanation at Wikipedia).

So far, mobile manufacturers have include the 802.11b/g into their newest handsets. In fact, the lack of WiFi in modern smartphones is often ridiculed as "not so smart". Take Palm's old Treo line-up for example, like my Treo 750v, Palm has taken some heat from fans & non-fans about not including WiFi in it.

But even after Palm finally put WiFi into Treo Pro, Broadcom has introduced its BCM4329 chip that can combines 802.11n wireless LAN, Bluetooth and FM radio for use in phones and other handheld devices. The 802.11n isn't exactly a new wireless protocol, it's been around for quite a long time and I've also have mentioned it few times before here at PalmAddict.

As well as the usual 2.4GHz band used in 802.11b/g, the chip can support Wi-Fi in the 5GHz which is less crowded and likely to become increasingly important. Chris Bergey, director of Broadcom's embedded wireless line of business said: "In particular, space time block codes give improved diversity and eliminate dead spots inside a building."

"Wireless LAN is becoming popular in phones thanks to full HTML browsers as seen on the iPhone," said Bergey. The combo chip will be in volume production in 2009 and available in products by the end of 2009, after which time, Bergey expects 802.11n to become widespread in phones, as the chip will be cheaper and more power efficient than existing 802.11g chips (as reported by PC World).

It's inevitable for smartphones to embrace the latest 802.11n protocol to replace the old ones (11b/g), it's the future technology after all even though the 802.11n is still in Draft v2.0 till now. Maybe Palm has the guts to adopt the newest wireless technology, and then my wish for Palm will come true? ;-p

There is one small problem in adopting this 802.11n that will become a big problem for mobile phone: the 802.11n needs wide antennas to give its best performance, so small sized mobile phones will have problem to get it inside. And in contrast, we'll probably gonna see wider smartphone design which aimed to make room for the new 802.11n's wide antennas.

I can already smell the coming of iPhone or iPod Touch with wider screen than today's models,... ;-)

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