Cheap Internet hardware that fits in everything

Toshiba and iReady have made a new category of network devices in the form of their ‘Internet Tuner' chip. The chip will mean cheap electronic devices with built-in Internet capabilities.

The chip is expected to appear first in cellular phones for email access and other wireless services.

The ‘Internet Tuner' will provide manufacturers with an inexpensive means to build networking, email and web browsing features into consumer devices such as TV's, DVD players, cellular phones and fax machines.

Previous attempts have not suited a mass market that insists on a high-volume, low-cost manufacturing model. The two companies reckon the ‘Internet Tuner' meets mass volume requirements by putting internet functions into semiconductors rather than software.

Toshiba's Yasuo Kawahara reckons the Tuner has solved "power consumption" and "cost problems" found in other solutions.

The chip is presently ready on a sample basis and Toshiba intends to make the design part of its standard IP (Internet Protocol) library.

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