The design package, called Wanda, is meant to create a cell phone that TI said would connect to each of these technologies: a Wi-Fi hot spot, which uses the 802.11b standards; a cell phone network using(Global System for Mobile Communications); and any device using the short-range wireless standard called Bluetooth. TI says it is the first to combine all three in a single design.
Many phone makers, including Nokia, Motorola and Sony Ericsson, already make phones that can connect to a GSM network and use Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting to other devices at short range, said Nokia spokesman Keith Nowak.
Buttrying to shoehorn Wi-Fi into cell phones will likely run into some problems with battery life, Nowak said. because it constantly forces a device to look for a network to log onto. Putting Wi-Fi into phones poses a significant challenge because the phones have an even shorter battery life than laptops, millions of which are used to connect to Wi-Fi networks, Nowak said.
A TI representative said the company is already working on power-saving techniques that will be incorporated into the Wanda chips.
The announcement was made Monday at the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Associationtaking place here.
The design, called Wanda--for Wireless Any Network Digital Assistant--combines TI's and wireless technologies with Microsoft's Pocket PC operating system. The software, made especially to work alongside Wanda chips, will be available soon through TI partner Accelent Systems.
A TI representative said he expected the first handsets using Wanda to appear by year's end. TI and three of its partners--National Datacomm, Chi-mei and Taiyo Yuden--are now selling the chips.