Broadcom offers single-chip 802.11b with efficient power use: Broadcom has grabbed the brass ring by producing an incredibly energy-efficient 802.11b module that's barely larger than a dime. With a single chip that combines the power amplifier, radio, baseband, and MAC mounted on a tiny bit of epoxy circuit board, Broadcom offers manufacturers a way to include 802.11b support in the smallest, most battery-limited devices.
Broadcom's new system means that cell phones, MP3s players, handhelds, cameras, and other devices could offer integral 802.11b without draining batteries or filling external slots. Broadcom has some impressive slides on power usage, noting that their standby power mode is 97 percent more miserly than the Centrino chipset.
The new system is also entirely in CMOS, a standard method of producing silicon integrated circuits, and uses standard processes, which allows Broadcom to produce the chip in the largest and cheapest quantities on contract at practically any fabrication plant. Other silicon methods may require more specialized plants or smaller wafers, which keep costs higher even in full production.
Broadcom told me that they expect to offer the units for about $12 to $13 each in quantities of 10,000 or more (which are very small quantities for silicon) by first quarter of 2004.