Texas Instruments announces WiLink 7.0 chip

Does Bluetooth 3.0, 802.11n WiFi

TINY CHIPS THAT can do a lot of things are always impressive and the Texas Instruments (TI) WiLink 7.0 doesn’t disappoint in that regard. It packs just about every technology you’d want in a handheld device when it comes to not only wireless connectivity but a few other handy features as well.

For starters you’re looking at 802.11a/g/b/n WiFi support as well as support for the upcoming WiFi Direct standard. Albeit from what we can tell it’s limited to use a single antenna which would reduce the speed for 802.11n WiFi to 150Mbps. Add to that Bluetooth 3.0 support, which operates over 802.11, and Bluetooth low-energy – also known as Bluetooth 4.0 – support and you’ve got some pretty decent wireless connectivity options for some upcoming smartphones. As far as we’re aware, this is one of the first Bluetooth 3.0 solutions, although many more are likely to follow.

TI didn’t stop there though as it also added a GPS receiver which was a separate chip on its previous generation product. There’s also an FM transmitter and receiver built in, which not only allows you to listen to radio but it’ll also allow you to transmit signals from whatever device this chip will end up in, to a car stereo for example.

TI claims that the WiLink 7.0 is 50 percent smaller than the previous WiLink 6.0 in combination with an external GPS solution. The WiLink 7.0 is also said to allow for 30 percent lower BOM costs due to the ability to share the same antenna for both 2.4GHz WiFi and Bluetooth among other things. TI has also worked out how to make the various wireless technologies to play nicely with each other without causing RF interference between them.

We’ll have to wait and see what this chip ends up in, but TI has big hopes for it not only in smartphones but also for MIDs, portable media players, navigation devices and just about anything else that would require the use of the features on offer. The WiLink 7.0 is sampling to selected customers now and hopefully we’ll be hearing more about the type of devices it’ll appear in during the Mobile World Congress, and most likely paired up with one of TI’s own OMAP processors.S|A

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