Broadcom release combo WiFi/Bluetooth/FM chip drivers for Android

Broadcom has announced Android compatibility for its multifunction wireless combo chip, that packages WiFi, Bluetooth and FM radio capabilities on a single component.  The company has added drivers for its BCM4325 combo chip to the latest build of the Android platform, meaning that hardware manufacturers will be able to use one component for all three functions, rather than incorporate two or three separate chips as is required now. By using a combo chip rather than individual components, handsets can be smaller, use less power, and have lower parts costs.  That, together with open-access to "portions" of the drivers for developers, will hopefully result in not only more compact and cheaper Android-based handsets, but a new generation of location-based, internet-connected apps to run on them. Broadcom was one of the founding members of the Open Handset Alliance, the group initially formed to collaborate and promote the Android platform.  The company has not disclosed which manufacturers it's working with on Android handsets.  Press Release:
Broadcom Becomes First to Enable the Android Mobile Platform to Support Wireless Connectivity 'Combo Chips' Access to Broadcom's BCM4325 Drivers Enables the Android Ecosystem to Support the Most Advanced Wireless Connectivity Solutions IRVINE, Calif. - February 5, 2009 - Broadcom Corporation (Nasdaq: BRCM), a global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications, today announced that the software that controls its industry-leading Wi-Fi®/Bluetooth®/FM combination solution is a standard component of the latest Android operating system. This is the first time that the Android platform includes native support for a multi-functional wireless connectivity solution (or "combo" chip). Open access to portions of Broadcom's combo drivers provides Android developers with a head-start in designing mobile devices and applications that utilize the best in wireless connectivity solutions. Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM technologies are becoming increasingly common in today's mobile phones, enabling a variety of popular media and data applications. The current generation of Android-based handsets features both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, but uses discrete components. The Broadcom® BCM4325 is the best-selling Bluetooth and Wi-Fi combo chip on the market, offering best-in-class space, power, cost and coexistence features. Adding Broadcom's BCM4325 drivers to the Android platform simplifies the integration of these connectivity technologies and accelerates platform development cycles. "Two of the most exciting trends in the handset industry are the growing popularity of Android and the transition to combo chips for connectivity," said Chris Bergey, Director of Broadcom's Embedded WLAN line of business. "As a founding member of the Open Handset Alliance, we are committed to advancing the Android platform by contributing our software and facilitating greater access to our combination chips in the open source community. We expect a plethora of products and applications to evolve from the connected Android platform in the not-so-distant future." The inherent benefits of multi-radio integration have changed the way many handset manufacturers think about connectivity features, which is driving significant growth for combo chips. According to IDC, a global market intelligence firm, combo chips will account for nearly 60 percent of connectivity solutions that ship into mobile phones by 2012. Broadcom was the first chipmaker to successfully combine Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM technologies on a single silicon die, and now offers the industry's largest portfolio of wireless combo chips. About the Android Platform Developed by the Open Handset Alliance (OHA), Android is the first free and open mobile platform. It includes everything a manufacturer or operator needs to build a mobile phone, including an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications. Developers can take advantage of the comprehensive software stack to develop innovative applications and compelling services. By contributing to the Android platform, members of the OHA can make it easier for developers to distribute and commercialize their applications. About Broadcom Broadcom Corporation is a major technology innovator and global leader in semiconductors for wired and wireless communications. Broadcom products enable the delivery of voice, video, data and multimedia to and throughout the home, the office and the mobile environment. We provide the industry's broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art system-on-a-chip and software solutions to manufacturers of computing and networking equipment, digital entertainment and broadband access products, and mobile devices. These solutions support our core mission: Connecting everything®. Broadcom is one of the world's largest fabless semiconductor companies, with 2008 revenue of $4.66 billion, and holds over 3,100 U.S. and over 1,400 foreign patents, more than 7,600 additional pending patent applications, and one of the broadest intellectual property portfolios addressing both wired and wireless transmission of voice, video, data and multimedia. Broadcom is headquartered in Irvine, Calif., and has offices and research facilities in North America, Asia and Europe. Broadcom may be contacted at +1.949.926.5000 or at
[via GigaOm]

HTC Dream set to launch in Singapore and Australia

Buyers in Singapore and Australia will soon have the opportunity to pick up their first Android-based smartphone, in the shape of the HTC Dream.  The Dream is sold in several markets by T-Mobile as the G1, and will launch on Singaporean carrier Singtel and Australian carrier Optus with all of the handset's usual features. That means a 3.2-inch capacitive touchscreen running at 320 x 480 resolution, a five-row QWERTY keyboard plus trackball navigation, 3G and WiFi connectivity, and a 3.2-megapixel autofocus camera.  The Dream will also have access to the Android Market, for third-party software and media downloads, together with one-touch access to Google search, Gmail, YouTube, Google Maps & Calendar. Availability on either network is yet to be announced, but Optus have revealed their handset pricing and plan details.  The carrier will be charging between AU$3 and AU$51 per month for the Dream, depending on which plan you select; plans range from AU$59 to AU$129 per month, with both 12- and 24-month contracts available. [via SlashGear]

Android Handsets From Motorola in 2009

According to their annual earnings call Tuesday morning, Motorola will be focusing their efforts in 2009 toward higher end devices on the Android platform. Sanjay Jha, Motorola's CEO, admitted that the company's mobile device division wasn't doing well, and the solution may be to churn out higher-end phones with a more robust platform. Windows Mobile 6.5 was not a focus, though he did mention Windows Mobile 7 would be a new direction in 2010.

Google Latitude location-sharing app hitting Android

Google have released Google Latitude, an update to their Mobile Maps app which adds the ability to share your location with other users, track friends' movements and trigger calls, emails and IM conversations with them directly from Latitude's user interface.  Available for Android devices now, G1 users in the US will be receiving Maps v3.0 in a system update soon. Since using GPS in this way can be a contentious issue, Google have given Latitude users the ability to restrict location information on a contact-by-contact basis; alternatively it will let you enter a false position manually.  Results are shown either on a map or in a list, from which individual people can be contacted without having to exit Latitude and go into your phonebook.  Right now, the app works in 27 countries; there's also an iGoogle plugin available for desktop use. Since not everybody uses a T-Mobile G1, Latitude is also available for most Windows Mobile 5.0 and above devices, most Symbian S60 handsets, and most color BlackBerry smartphones.  Versions for the iPhone, iPod touch and many Sony Ericsson handsets will apparently be available soon. [gallery] [via TechCrunch]

G1 gets Voice-Controlled Search with RC-33 update

Google have added voice-controlled searching to the T-Mobile G1, part of the new feature set introduced in the latest firmware update.  The widget has been integrated into both the Android browser and the home screen search bar, in the form of a new microphone icon. Tapping the icon brings up a "Speak now" prompt, at which point you can search for multi-word terms.  If the app doesn't correctly recognize your voice, you can also choose the arrow to the right of the search box and see a drop-down list of other suggested interpretations.  The Google Android team claim to be working on refining the recognition algorithms for future updates. The functionality also works within the Android browser, and can be accessed by choosing Menu > Search and tapping the microphone icon.  Unfortunately the new functionality is currently only available in the US, with the RC-33 firmware rolling out over this coming week.  Have you tried voice-controlled searching on the G1?  Impressed or disappointed?  [gallery]

Intel Prepares For Android Netbooks

Anticipating an influx of Android-powered netbooks to the market, Intel has begun preparations to supply manufacturers with chipsets that will support the platform. Traditionally a Windows and Linux-dominated market, netbooks could benefit greatly from Android's design as a mobile and small-footprint operating system.

Samsung Android device expected at MWC

Dutch cellphone site GSM Helpdesk have suggested that Samsung will be launching their first Android handset within the next two weeks, a timescale that puts it right on track for Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.  They have little in the way of specific details, but suggest that from their knowledge of it the device will deliver new convenience elements. Rumors regarding Samsung's plans for Android are nothing new; the company was tipped to be considering the platform as early as September last year.  More information followed on in December 2008, suggesting a Q2 2009 launch on both T-Mobile and Sprint.  GSM Helpdesk have proved accurate on prior Samsung leaks, however, lending weight to their timescale. The Samsung Android device itself is believed to be a full-touchscreen device in the mould of the Instinct or Omnia.  In December, an unnamed Samsung spokesperson was credited with claiming the company had "accelerated the development process" in order to satisfy carrier demands. [via SlashGear]

Android Community Week In Review – Week 5 2009

This week saw a few big stories for the Android platform, the most anticipated being T-Mobile's official announcement of offering more Android-based handsets in 2009. A specific number was not given, but HSPA capabilities on these handsets are almost a given, with T-Mobile's stance that they will have 3G data networks available in 300 cities by the end of 2009. This would make T-mobile highly competitive with Verizon and AT&T. T-Mobile also released their Q4 2008 numbers, and the results left some wondering if the G1 was really able to compete with the iPhone, as it hadn't drawn near the same number of subscribers to T-Mobile from previous carriers. Another factor to consider is the currently bleak job market and economy, and the possible unwillingness to pay early termination fees to switch for a new phone.

ING Wegwijzer ATM locater app uses Augmented Reality

Bank ING have announced a free app for Android-based handsets, which helps users locate their nearest ATM.  The software, ING Wegwijzer ("ING Signpost"), takes advantage not only of the T-Mobile G1's GPS functionality but also its digital compass, presenting directions to the closest cash-machine overlaid onto a real-time view of their surroundings. It's similar in concept to Lastminute's nru app, which highlights activities such as galleries, cinemas, bars and restaurants.  Both apps offer a form of augmented-reality, where internet data is combined with real-time information from around the user; by holding the G1 up as if taking a photo and then turning around, the software keeps the information positioned appropriately.  Another example is the Wikitude AR Travel Guide, also available for the G1. Unfortunately the service is only available in the Netherlands at present, meaning those outside the country will have a long walk to whichever ATM the app flags up.  Still, it's great to see a well-known company pick up on Android's capabilities and promote software for it, something we'll hopefully see even more of in other regions. [gallery] [via Springwise]
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