Integration is the watchword of the semiconductor industry. Nearly every chip vendor is working on ways to merge different functions onto a single piece of silicon in an effort to cut chip and system costs, improve performance, or both.
The first Motorola-Aureal 56-kbps modem, to be rolled out in early 1999, will feature Aureal's Vortex chip architecture for "3D" audio and Motorola's analog modem technology.
By teaming up, the companies say, they can offer a v.90-compliant 56-kbps modem with an audio chip accelerator that is less expensive than the combined price of individual modem and separate audio chipset. Additionally, PC makers and users can use one PC card slot for the combined product instead of two.
Fremont, California-based Aureal would not comment on the expected price savings of its upcoming product, but by moving several discrete functions onto a single chip, the thinking goes, costs are driven down and profit margins up.
"We wanted to work with Motorola because of their technical leadership and strong intellectual property position," said Sanjay Iyer, vice president of Aureal's technology group in a statement today.
"We will take Motorola's world-class analog modem technology and deliver integrated audio-modem solutions to the retail and OEM markets."
The companies are also looking at developing future products for mobile computers, as well as products based on Intel audio specifications for desktop systems.