Texas Instruments has started shipping samples of is CE WLAN Development Kit 2.0 to manufacturers that will enable mobile products to connect to the Web via Wi-Fi hotspots.
The new chip is a mobile version of the company's DaVinci, which gives stationary devices like DVRs and set-top boxes Wi-Fi connectivity. TI expects the kit to give developers the ability to build 802.11g wireless into an assortment of mobile devices, such as portable music players, game devices, digital cameras and GPS systems.
This will allow the products to download music or video from a service or home network from any Wi-Fi hotspot. With a digital camera consumers could download images to their home computer through the Internet, reducing their dependence on additional memory cards.
TI has been working with several companies to prepare them for the new chipset so products can be developed and sent to market once TI is able to supply the chipset in quantity, said Steven Schnier, TI's CE product manager, WLAN. Mass production is expected to be in full swing by August with the first products possibly ready for retail by December, he said.
The development kit contains not only the chip, which is about half the size of a postage stamp, but all the software and drivers needed. Schnier said it can be integrated into existing products to make them wireless, but for the first products expected out will be designed from the ground up with the chip in mind.