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TI's Chips Come With a Crunch

SAN DIEGO -- CTIA Wireless IT & Entertainment -- Want to know why 3G networks are facing a capacity crunch? Texas Instruments Inc. (NYSE: TXN) has one slightly tongue-in-cheek answer.

"I guess you could say its OMAP's fault," Seshu Madhavapeddy, general manager of TI’s Mobile Computing and Communications group, tells Unstrung.

He's being light-hearted, but he has a point, because the latest application processors, such as TI's OMAP (Open Multimedia Application Platform), are enabling users to do things like stream YouTube videos at high resolution over 3G networks, often "saturating the network" in the process. (See The Power Behind the Palm Pre.)

Of course carriers likely wouldn't have it any other way, since better application processors -- chipsets that handle the computing functions of the phone, rather than the radio connection -- have enabled a boom in mobile data revenues.

There's no going back now, anyway, as Madhavapeddy claims TI's OMAP family is in "13 of the 15 leading smartphone platforms." In fact, the next generation of chips will up the ante, allowing phones using the silicon to take digital pictures at 20 megapixels resolution, a huge leap from the maximum of 12 megapixels today.

The OMAP family is currently in devices such as the Palm Inc. Pre, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) N900, and Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. (Korea: SEC) Omni HD, amongst other. The silicon will also soon be in "innovative Android products from Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT)," according to Madhavapeddy.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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