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Broadcom to take on smartphones, tablets with new 28nm 4G LTE chip

Broadcom has announced its first foray into LTE with a modem chip that supports faster 4G networks.

The 28nm BCM21892 chip, to be unveiled during the Mobile World Congress show later this month, runs a full-featured cellular baseband along with a world-band radio in a footprint that Broadcom claims is about 35 per cent smaller than current industry solutions.

A company press release details the modem's capabilities, including advanced power management techniques that save up to 25 per cent of the power typically consumed during data transmissions to the network, as well as LTE Category 4 support, and a seamless hands-off performance between 4G LTE, 3G, and 2G technologies.

"Broadcom's new 4G LTE modem combined with our Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS and NFC technologies gives OEMs all the communications technologies needed to build advanced devices that will offer consumers the features, speed and functionality they demand in their next smartphone purchase," Robert Rango, Broadcom Mobile and Wireless Group general manager, said in a statement.

Rango said he is confident the company's new modem will also help mobile carriers drive new 4G LTE features, like carrier aggregation, into commercial networks.

The company's move to join the LTE race may offer a blow to market leader Qualcomm, which supplied 86 per cent of the 47 million LTE-capable chips shipped last year, Bloomberg reported. Meanwhile, Broadcom, Nvidia, Intel, and Renesas Electronics offer competing products.

"The BCM21892 is a chip that no only provides the super-fast wireless access users have come to expect from 4G but also the support for additional services, including international roaming and high-definition voice calling, that carrier will soon offer," Broadcom's Lars Johnsson wrote in a blog post.

"As soon as the new modem is expected to appear in mobile devices next year, consumers will begin to experience the true power of an LTE offering designed from the ground up for a 4G world," he said.

The modem is currently in the testing phase with early-access customers. Broadcom anticipates a 2014 production schedule. For more details about Broadcom's BCM21892, check out the online product page.