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TI WiLink 8.0 combo wireless chip includes NFC, drops power

updated 12:55 pm EST, Mon February 13, 2012

Ti WiLink 8 preps for NFC mobile future

TI kicked off the week with a new all-in-one wireless chip that could make NFC (near-field communications) much easier. The WiLink 8.0 is the first of its kind to build NFC into the chip alongside Bluetooth, FM radio, GNSS positioning, Wi-Fi, and even ANT+ for exercise and . It both shrinks the size of a chipset with NFC by as much as half and, as a complete design, can offload much of the work that would normally go to the main processor.

Power consumption should go down as well by having to drive fewer chips.

For existing technology, it supports both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz Wi-Fi bands at up to more than 100Mbps through a two-by-two antenna layout. Appropriately, it can support Wi-Fi Direct and various forms of wireless display. The GNSS roots let it work with GPS or Russia's GLONASS, while NXP's involvement in the NFC chip should help compatibility with earlier approaches to the short-range technology.

Production samples of the WiLink 8.0 are going to "top-tier" mobile companies today, although TI declined to name partners. Finished products shipping with the new hardware should be ready by the second half of the year.

The addition could mark a significant expansion of NFC. Currently, just a handful of devices such as the Galaxy Nexus, BlackBerry Bold 9900, and AT&T's version of the Galaxy S II support NFC at all, often as the cost and size of the NFC chip can discourage some. TI may help the next wave of smartphones and tablets turn short-range payments, tags, and device-to-device sharing into relatively common features.

by MacNN Staff



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