NXP Semiconductors in the Netherlands has made a breakthrough: a 2.5 x 2.5 millimeter integrated circuit that allows manufacturers to implement a complete radio solution in their products with a minimal investment of physical space. According to the company’s press release of 3/03/08, the chip will be going into production at the end of the first quarter this year.
The really interesting part is the company’s rationale (emphasis mine):
“NXP’s TEA5990 helps manufacturers address the burgeoning demand for FM radio in low-cost handsets, by offering a low-cost solution that can be designed-in with complete ease,” said Timothy Wang, Marketing Manager for Connectivity and Broadcast Products, Mobile & Personal Business at NXP Semiconductors. “With consumers becoming more mobile globally, NXP’s chip with integrated RDS functionality makes it easier for users receive important announcements such as traffic updates, allowing any necessary journey changes to be made, while they listen to radio.”
“As the personal media player market grows to adopt FM functionality as a given standard, A-MAX is leveraging NXP’s TEA5990 FM-RDS chip to combine location-based service on PMPs,” said Frank Chang, General Manager for Marketing at A-MAX Technology. “With NXP’s TEA5990, A-MAX is poised to offer optimized production-ready reference designs to OEMs.”
For an industry which self-styled pundits proclaim is “dying,” or “on its last legs,” this talk of FM functionality as a given standard should be cause for thought. Notice above that it says that this chip was developed in response to trends within the personal media player market. Advertisers especially take heed here: consumers want it.
Everyday, it seems as though I keep finding more and more efforts by manufacturers to integrate radio into other devices. Cell phones are big, as are PDAs and music players of various stripes. As companies like NXP keep producing smaller and smaller components radio’s reach expands. The original wireless device is more than capable of holding its own as we forge ahead into the future of technology and media. I, for one, cannot wait to see what comes next!