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Broadcom Unveils Mobile-Friendly 802.11ac Wi-Fi Chip

The new and improved 802.11ac Wi-Fi protocol hasn’t even been made an official standard yet, but that hasn't stopped forward-thinking companies from releasing devices based on the current, near finalized draft. Soon, you could actually have a gadget that actually utilizes the next-gen wireless signal natively, as Broadcom just announced its first "5G" Wi-Fi chip tailored for mobile devices.

Don't let the 5G designation fool you; that's just Broadcom's marketing talk for 802.11ac Wi-Fi. (802.11ac is the fifth generation of Wi-Fi.) The 40nm BCM4335 chip also includes Bluetooth 4.0 and FM radio on the die and comes with additional mobile-friendly features, including a "wireless coexistence technology" that minimizes interference between 4G LTE radios and the various radios on board the Broadcom chip.

The blistering 433Mbps next-gen Wi-Fi speeds Broadcom says the BCM4335 is capable of actually helps with the chip's energy efficiency, the company claims. That data rate is three to four times faster than current 802.11n implementations: faster transfers mean mobile devices can drop into power-saving modes faster, too. Broadcom has also engineered the BCM4335 with "the industry's most advanced idle power consumption performance," and all told, the company says the chip is up to six times more power efficient than currents Wi-Fi chips.

While industry partners are currently sampling the BCM4335, don't expect to get your hands on a Broadcom 5G-packing phone or tablet this year; Broadcom expects the first devices carrying the BCM4335 to hit store shelves in early 2013.