CSR's multi-Wi-Fi chip targets electronics devices

Cambridge Silicon Radio's first non-Bluetooth chips aim to get Wi-Fi into kit such as mobile phones and media players

Cambridge Silicon Radio (CSR) launched a range of chips on Tuesday that support the three most popular Wi-Fi standards.

The products, called UniFi, are designed to be embedded in a wide range of electronics devices, including mobile phones and digital music players.

UK-based CSR claims that UniFi is the first range of chips to support 802.11a, 802.11b and 802.11g, and the first to be specifically designed to be deployed within these electronics devices.

UniFi is CSR's first non-Bluetooth chip. The company says that it sees Wi-Fi as the successor to Bluetooth for wireless connectivity in the electronics device space.

"The cellphone is already a converged device. The requirement for bandwidth is going up and the number of applications that want to use bandwidth is going up," said James Collier, CSR's technical director, at a press conference in London on Tuesday.

"Bluetooth will remain, but there is room for a new standard for when you really want to get some data, and that's where we think something based on Wi-Fi will appear," Collier added.

Wi-Fi PCMCIA cards and chips such as those from Intel's Centrino family have been deployed in laptop computers for the last few years.

Collier explained that UniFi has been engineered to consume less power and emit lower-power signals than PC-based Wi-Fi chips. UniFi will also handle the computing that has previously been handled by a PC's Pentium chip.

More on this story to follow.