Intel buys Wi-Fi, Bluetooth chipset vendor

Intel buys Wi-Fi, Bluetooth chipset vendor

Intel has purchased privately held Mobilian to expand its wireless networking portfolio, an Intel spokesman confirmed last Friday.

Mobilian makes an integrated 802.11b/Bluetooth chipset called TrueRadio for mobile phones, said Daniel Francisco, an Intel spokesman. The company has about 70 employees in Oregon and in California, and most of the employees are expected to join Intel's wireless networking group, he said.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Intel has spent a lot of time this year promoting the 802.11 wireless silicon used in the Centrino package for notebooks. The company has released an 802.11b and 802.11a/b chip, but does not have a Bluetooth chip available for purchase.

Intel's processors for personal digital assistants and mobile phones do support the standard, and Intel's Wireless Coexistence Software helps to smooth out interference between Bluetooth and 802.11b, which operate on the same 2.4GHz frequency used by many other wireless devices.

Mobilian's TrueRadio product will help Intel build upon its current wireless strategy, but any products based on the technology will not be available for some time, Francisco said.

Texas Instruments demonstrated a multichip reference design earlier this year that combined the Bluetooth, 802.11b and GSM/GPRS (Global System for Mobile Communications/General Packet Radio Service) wireless technologies into a single personal digital assistant.

After a torrid pace of acquisitions in the late 1990s, Intel had slowed its buying activity. But earlier this year the company purchased West Bay Semiconductor, an optical networking chip designer, and part of Pallas, a supercomputer software developer.

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