Chip news: Superfast Wi-Fi and a new 64-bit CPU


The capabilities of upcoming smartphones and tablets can often be seen in the chipsets that are launching now.

Mobile chip update

Superfast Wi-Fi
Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are strong suits for chipmaker Broadcom, and now the company says it has the industry’s most powerful Wi-Fi chip for mobile devices. The BCM4358 is an 802.11ac 2×2 MIMO (multiple input-multiple output) device that combines Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on a single chip.

Broadcom claims the chipset can support Wi-Fi data speeds of up to 650 megabits per second and says consumers can download content two times faster, stream videos with less buffering and connect to multiple Wi-Fi and Bluetooth devices concurrently (e.g. listen to music while playing a game) without interference issues. The BCM4358 supports Android, Windows and Chrome.

Other chipmakers with 802.11ac MIMO chipsets in the works include Qauntenna Communications, which says it is working on the world’s first 10G Wi-Fi chipset, and of course Qualcomm. Qualcomm’s multiuser MIMO enables devices to transmit multiple signals on a single frequency.

64-bit processing
Imagination Technologies is best known for graphics processors, but the company has had its eye on CPUs ever since it bought MIPS almost two years ago. This week Imagination launched the first 64-bit CPU based on the MIPS architecture, which Imagination says is even more power efficient than the ARM architecture. ARM designs most of the processors used in smartphones and tablets today.

Sixty-four-bit architectures are used to build processors for personal computers, but most mobile applications don’t require that much horsepower. That’s expected to change as tablets and smartphones take on heavier workloads. Apple was the first to put a 64-bit processor into a smartphone, and Intel followed suit in February with its own 64-bit processors for mobile devices, claiming it was faster than Apple’s A7 64-bit chip.

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Martha DeGrasse

Wireless Martha DeGrasse has been creating content for RCR Wireless News since 2011. Recent feature reports include Building Tomorrow's Neworks, Outdoor DAS and Small Cell Case Studies, Wireless Infrastructure Service Company Review, and Investing in HetNets. (All of these can be found by clicking on Reports at the top of this page.) At RCR, Martha also developed the 5 Things to Know Today series and the Mobile Minute. Prior to joining RCR Wireless News, Martha produced business and technology news for CNN and Dow Jones in New York. Martha left Dow Jones to move to Austin, Texas, where she managed the online editorial group at Hoover’s Online before taking a number of years off to be at home when her children were young. Follow her on Twitter @mdegrasseRCR