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Atheros Unveils Bluetooth Chip For PCs

Atheros' first Bluetooth product is a single chip that will work with the company's wireless LAN products.

Atheros Communications unveiled the Atheros AR3011, a Bluetooth 2.1+ Enhanced Data Rate product for desktops and laptops.

The company is known for developing 802.11 wireless LAN chipsets. This is Atheros' first Bluetooth product. According to Atheros, it will be the industry's first chip meeting the Bluetooth 2.1+EDR specifications, which are designed to ease pairing of Bluetooth devices, increase security, and use less power to extend battery life.

Atheros now ships 802.11n, 802.11a/g, and 802.11g WLAN chipsets.

"To date, the Bluetooth market for PC [manufacturers] has been underserved," said Sam Endy, VP and general manager for Atheros, in a statement. "Our single-chip solution is optimized for the PC platform. Atheros' Bluetooth technology builds on the company's expertise in the mobile and embedded market to deliver the most complete, wireless networking experience."

Last year, Bluetooth penetration of the laptop market was estimated at 31%, reports Atheros. By 2011, it'is expected to grow to 74%.

The company is expected to offer the AR3011 chip on its own, or along with Atheros' wireless LAN chip. Each chip can be sold to manufacturers singularly or they can be sold together to offer both types of connectivity -- WLAN and Bluetooth, explains Srinivas Pattamatta, a senior manager at Atheros. Each chip works alone, but they are complementary, as well.

The chips come in compact half-mini PCI Express card designs, Pattamatta says. The chip cards are designed to be an add-on to the motherboard. The AR3011 silicon, which is the first member of the company's new ROCm, or radio-on-chip for mobile, line of Bluetooth solutions, will be available in the first quarter.

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