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Software-Based AM/FM Tuning Already Available, Motorola Admits

The first radios to incorporate software tuning won’t be available next year because they’re already here, Motorola admitted.

Last month, Motorola said the first radios incorporating software tuning would be available next year as a result of the launch of its Symphony chipset, but a less powerful Motorola-made chipset is already available in select Blaupunkt Digiceiver car radios starting at an everyday $270.

Nonetheless, Motorola marketing director John Hansen said the new chipset, consisting of 10 150-Mips DSPs, is “an order of magnitude” more powerful and will be “superior in all respects.” The solution will eventually be more cost-effective, he added, because the chips will be sold to multiple CE suppliers for home, car and portable applications, raising volume and driving down costs.

The chipsets in the Blaupunkt radios incorporate some of Blaupunkt’s intellectual property, Hansen noted.

Either chipset makes improvements in the same performance areas, but the new solution will enhance those advantages because of the increased processing power, Motorola said.

Both solutions let consumers hear more stations in more places and extend the radius at which radio stations can be heard in stereo before degraded reception causes the radio to blend the signal to mono.

Specifically, the radios also deliver greater rejection of adjacent-channel interference, improve noise rejection and reduce multipath interference.

The first Blaupunkt radios sold with software tuning were available in 1997, the company said, and more than eight million have been sold worldwide.