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Broadcom aims advanced comm chips at Linux handsets

Sep 19, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 3 views

Communications chip giant Broadcom has joined the LiMo (Linux Mobile) Foundation, an industry group building a shared Linux stack for mobile phones. The company said it hopes to work with the Foundation to reduce Linux's power requirements, size, and cost, in order to “achieve widespread adoption of Linux-based handsets.”

In a statement, Broadcom said that the increasing complexity of 3G devices requires “a software platform that can keep pace.” As an associate member of LiMo, the company will gain access to the Foundation's code, participate in working groups, and make contributions that will “enable it to assert its leadership in the developing smartphone segment, while maintaining technological leadership in the mobile Linux arena,” it said.

Broadcom's silicon products for mobile phones includes basebands, multimedia application processors, power management, WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS chips. Joining the Foundation will enable it to “pre-integrate” these products with the LiMo Linux stack, and to distribute the LiMo stack with its development kits and hardware reference designs.

Broadcom and Philips spin-out NXP (formerly Philips Semiconductor) are the first semiconductor vendors to join LiMo. However, the foundation's new executive director, Morgan Gillis, expects others to follow. He recently commented, “Today, we have two semiconductor vendors. But broadly one would expect all semiconductor vendors to see this as an opportunity to round out their offerings.”

Additional comments from Gillis, who left smartphone giant Symbian to join LiMo, can be found in our earlier coverage, here.

Hankil Yoon, chair of Limo's architecture council (and a VP at Samsung) suggested that “Broadcom's diverse connectivity portfolio will drive increasingly advanced devices into Linux handsets.”

Jim Tran, GM of mobile communications at Broadcom, added, “Broadcom has a long history of working closely within the Linux community on advanced communications products.”

In related news, Broadcom recently expanded its smartphone design center in Taiwan, which “currently focuses on the development of Windows Mobile solutions,” it said. The chipmaker also recently joined a Symbian S60 developers' community.

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