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International Business Machines Corporation Message Board

  • stromboli5 stromboli5 Feb 1, 1999 9:39 AM Flag


    When it comes to portable electronic devices,
    most mobile users would welcome a better mousetrap,as
    long as it used less power.

    Fortunately, a new
    breed of chips, based on an IBM technology called
    Silicon-Germanium(Si-Ge), will soon be available, which will not only be
    less expensive but will provide a clearer signal and
    consume less power. For cellular phone users, that
    probably will men fewer interrupted calls and less
    recharging, a task avid users have grown to dread.
    IBM has
    never looked more fit... and the future is so

    IBM, which unveiled the chips in the fall, is
    busy signing deals with manufacturers. Cell-phone
    manufacturers are most likely to be the first bet.

    Already, IBM subsidiary Comm
    quest is selling chip sets
    that use the new technology to cell-phone maker
    Audiovox, but it's likely to take several months before
    most customers in the U.S. can purchase a phone that
    uses the new chips.

    An IBM spokesman declined
    to discuss potential customers, but analysts
    speculat that the larger cell-phone manufacturers-
    Moterola,Nokia and Ericsson, among others- probably won't use
    the IBM chip because they're developing their own

    Instead, expect the chip to begin turning up in
    phones made by Sony, Audiovox, and Siemens, says Allen
    Liebovitch, a chip-industry analyst at Mountain View,
    Ca-based International Data Corp.

    But cell phones
    aren't the only place where the Si-Ge chips will emerge.
    IBM also hopes to sell the chips to companies that
    manufacture pagers, handheld computers, and Global
    Positioning Systems (GPS).

    In fact IBM has signed a
    deal with Leica Geosystems to begin providing the
    chips for Leica's GPS products. Though GPS remains a
    tiny piece of business in the U.S. the systems are
    catching on in Europe and Japan. However that's expected
    to change as the cost of GPS declines. Over the next
    five years the U.S.
    Commerce Department predicts
    that annual sales of GPS devices will reach $16

    Analysts say that because the new chip costs so
    much less- one-fifth to one-tenth as much as the more
    traditional Gallium Arsenide chips- manufacturers will be
    able to provide more options to more mobile

    One possibility is combining a cell phone with a
    GPS system, a hybrid product that is too expensive
    with Gallium Arsenide chips.

    This looks like
    it may be bad for Lucent.
    I got to wear shades.

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