One Chip to Rule Them All: TI Unveils 5-in-1 WiLink 8.0 Chips

In an age when the typical smartphone functions as a wireless hotspot, digital wallet, GPS and FM radio all at the same time, manufacturers grapple with cramming an increasing number of radio chips into an ever-slimmer frame. Texas Instruments has been working to alleviate this burden, and Monday announced WiLink 8.0, its next generation of wireless chips for smartphones and other mobile devices.

WiLink 8.0 represents a breakthrough in wireless technology, as it integrates five radios -- Wi-Fi, GPS, NFC, Bluetooth and FM -- onto a single 45-nanometer chip. Texas Instruments boasts that mobile devices featuring WiLink 8.0 chips will cost 60% less, be 45% smaller and use 30% less power than comparable devices.

The company offers fifteen variations of the chip, with various configurations of radio capabilities. The most powerful chip, the WL 189x, offers all five radios on one chip. This flexibility, TI hopes, will allow manufacturers to use WiLink 8.0 chips on both high-end and low-end mobile devices.

Among the key features of the WiLink 8.0 chip family are Wi-Fi throughput speeds as high as 100 MBps on the 2.4-GHz and 5-GHz bands, allowing for the incredibly fast mobile streaming and HD mobile video; the world's first integrated NFC controller; and a hybrid positioning system that blends GPS, Wi-Fi, ANT and NFC technology for hyper-accurate, "always-aware" positioning.

Texas Instruments is sampling WiLink 8.0 to top-tier mobile OEMs, and will demonstrate the technology at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona from February 27 to March 1. The company expects products featuring WiLink 8.0 chips to ship as early as the second half of 2012.