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TI tries to secure the wireless future

Texas Instruments says its wireless technologies will allow consumers to make secure purchases on next-generation cell phones and wireless handhelds.

A new wireless technology will allow consumers to make secure purchases on next-generation cell phones and wireless handhelds, Texas Instruments said Monday.

The new security technology is a software library for TI's blueprint for wireless devices that use its digital signal processors. The blueprint is known as OMAP, or the Open Multimedia Applications Protocol.

"At TI, security is a religion. And to keep themselves in the No. 1 spot in the DSP (digital signal processor) market, the company is already addressing new services for the next generation of wireless phones," said Will Strauss, president of market researcher Forward Concepts.

TI's efforts will allow consumers to perform activities over devices with high-speed Internet access, such as buying products, downloading and streaming content, performing bank transactions and interacting with corporate networks.

The software library consists of programs from securities companies such as SafeNet, NTRU, WhiteCell, SnapShield and AuthenTec. The applications provide capabilities such as memory protection, advanced public and private key encryption, virus screening, firewall protection and fingerprint identification.

Security has already been tagged as a key feature for wireless devices.

"In Europe and Asia where (next-generation) phones are already being used, customers are already complaining about being spammed and compromised," Strauss said. "TI is just getting ahead of the game."

Multimedia has also been identified as a key feature for future wireless devices. But TI Chief Executive Tom Engibous recently warned that manufacturers should remember to keep features simple.

Handset manufacturers such as Nokia, Ericsson, Sony, Sendo and HTC have selected OMAP as the framework for their next-generation phones.