Altair Semiconductor finds a place among mobile innovators
Six-year-old LTE chipmaker focuses on low-cost tablets, LTE modems
Computerworld - BARCELONA -- Altair Semiconductor, based in Israel, is a smaller company that showed off its LTE radio chips -- and the tablets and routers they're being installed in -- at a small booth at Mobile World Congress this week.
Among the thousands of companies exhibiting at the event here, Altair is a prime example of the energy being demonstrated globally by newer innovators in mobile and wireless technologies.
CEO Oded Melamed said the six-year-old company, which has about 150 employees, is focused on providing its LTE technology to users in developing countries such as India, Brazil, China and Russia. That's where low-cost broadband modems and related devices are expected to be in great demand as their populations explode.
Altair chose to keep its chips focused on LTE-only rather than pairing them with 3G radios, as many other manufacturers do. That can lower costs, and makes it possible to reduce the size of the chip, to 6mm square -- two to three times smaller and cheaper than competing chips, Melamed said.
An LTE-to-Wi-Fi router in a home could soon sell for $50, half the price of today, he said in an interview.
Melamed also showed off a small sub-$100 tablet running over Altair's LTE chip from a maker called Ainol. The 7-in. Ainol tablet is called the Novo 7, sells in China and runs Android 4.0.
In all, Altair has 16 customers making 50 devices, including in-home LTE modems, a 10-in. tablet by Quanta, an HD-camera that can be mounted on a race car to run over LTE and feed data to the race pit, and outdoor LTE routers to provide broadband Internet access at home. That router offers enhanced antennas and a rugged case to withstand the weather.
Melamed admitted his company's goal is less about bridging the digital divide in developing countries and more about taking advantage of the enormous opportunities in places such as India. It has more than 1 billion people, but only 120 million Internet users. Of those with Internet, only 30 million could be described as having broadband, with speeds of up to 300Kbps, he said.
Altair is an example of a many smaller tech firms fighting giants such as Qualcomm. But Altair is on the verge of a major growth spurt, Melamed predicted.
"We are six years old, like a child going to first grade in school, excited to make a big move up," he said.
Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed. His email address is email@example.com.
- QuickPoll: What will be the biggest change to smartphones this year?
- Broadcom readies chips optimized for Android 4.0
- Wi-Fi, small cells could disrupt mobile
- Altair Semiconductor finds a place among mobile innovators
- Nvidia expects to do well in Windows-on-ARM race
- More smartphones are getting HD Voice
- Microsoft shows Windows on ARM tablet designs
- Windows on ARM will be 'huge,' exec says
- Nokia aims to appeal to developers
- Google once considered issuing currency
Read more about Processors in Computerworld's Processors Topic Center.
- 15 Non-Certified IT Skills Growing in Demand
- How 19 Tech Titans Target Healthcare
- Twitter Suffering From Growing Pains (and Facebook Comparisons)
- Agile Comes to Data Integration
- Slideshow: 7 security mistakes people make with their mobile device
- iOS vs. Android: Which is more secure?
- 11 sure signs you've been hacked
- HP HAVEn: See the big picture in Big Data HP HAVEn is the industry's first comprehensive, scalable, open, and secure platform for Big Data. Enterprises are drowning in a sea of data...
- What Datapipe customers need to know about the new PCI DSS 3.0 compliance standard This handy quick reference outlines what PCI DSS 3.0 is, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the new...
- The 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements addressed by Peer 1 Hosting This handy quick reference outlines the 12 PCI DSS 3.0 requirements, who needs to be compliant and how Alert Logic solutions address the...
- Defense Throughout the Vulnerability Life Cycle This whitepaper provides insight into how to leverage threat and log management technologies to protect your IT assets throughout their vulnerability life cycle.
- Meg Whitman presents Unlocking IT with Big Data During this Web Event you will hear Meg Whitman, President and CEO, HP discuss HAVEn - the #1 Big Data platform, as well...
- The New Way to Work Knowledge Vault This Knowledge Vault focuses on how, in today's increasingly virtual world, it's more important than ever to engage deeply with employees, suppliers, partners,... All Processors White Papers | Webcasts