Wed, Nov 21, 2001 - Page 17 News List

EiC creates new phone technology

WIRELESS WEB Taiwan-based chip design firm Etron Technology and a number of other local companies have a stake in the US firm's product

By Dan Nystedt  /  STAFF REPORTER

A company based in the US' Silicon Valley, backed by Taiwanese cash and brainpower, launched a new component that may advance mobile-Internet solutions.

"This small package represents a technical breakthrough in size and thermal performance," EiC Corp's Larry Wang said in Taipei yesterday.

The Fremont California-based company announced a series of new modules that amplify data signals on mobile phones and significantly increase download speeds.

The fingernail-sized square chips work in GSM, GPRS, CDMA and other mobile-phone standards.

Taiwan-based chip design firm Etron Technology Inc (鈺創) and a number of other local companies are heavily invested in EiC.

Etron invested US$50 million for a 23 percent stake in the company, and Hon Hai Precision Industries and Yu Long Motors are also major investors, according to Nicky Lu (盧超群), CEO of EiC Corp and chairman of Etron.

The new modules amplify mobile-phone signals, allowing them to operate faster.

Some of Motorola's mobile phones geared toward GPRS can download data at a rate of 24 kilobits per second -- about half the speed of a standard computer with a 56k modem.

With EiC's new power amplifier module, the speed can theoretically be doubled while also dissipating heat at the same time, according to Barry Lin (林嘉孚), vice president of production at EiC.

Heat and bandwidth have been the main restrictions on wireless Web performance.

The faster data is transmitted through a cellphone, the hotter it gets. Mobile phones are designed to run slower in order to avoid overheating, seriously inhibiting their performance on the Internet.

To pump up the speed, the EiC module helps dissipate heat as it doubles the amount of slots used in downloading information.

Current handsets use only two slots, while EiC's module doubles the amount of slots to four, greatly increasing data transmission speed.

Phone companies do not necessarily like use of more slots and higher speeds because it pressures them to install more base stations in high-use areas.

Just as computer Internet connections slow down when too many people log on at the same time, cellphone base stations pumping out signals slow down when too many people download videos, data or browse the Internet on a cellphone.

To make planned wireless Web services a reality on GPRS and 3G, download higher speeds are required.

Lu said his firm launched the product in Taipei because the technology is aimed at manufacturers in China, Japan, South Korea and Taiwan.

The company has already started shipping samples of the new power amplifier modules, dubbed the ECM007 and ECM009, to customers in Asia and is ready to ramp up production as soon as the products gain wider industry acceptance.

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