Comms chips

IceFyre Melts Down

IceFyre Semiconductor Corp. -- the wireless LAN chip company that always sounded more like an '80s hair metal band -- is shutting up shop.

A company representative confirmed a report in the Ottawa Citizen that the firm, which made low-power 802.11 chips intended for consumer electronics and handheld devices, is closing its doors (see IceFyre Rocks the Living Room).

"We are winding down operations," he told Unstrung on Friday afternoon.

IceFyre's strategy could prove to be just a little ahead of its time, as the products using low-power, high-speed chips are only now trickling into the market.

One example would be the dual-mode cellular/WLAN cellphone, which is integral to the concept of converged communications; Motorola Inc. (NYSE: MOT) is scheduled to launch its first big dual-mode GSM/WLAN handset sometime this summer (see Moto Ramps Up Convergence). Of course, dual-mode phones are rare and expensive at the moment.

On the other side of the living room, wireless LAN chips may provide an answer for carriers grappling with the expense of wiring up homes for IPTV services. Such chips would be embedded in set-top boxes to provide a wireless transport for video streams (see Carriers Claim IPTV Wiring Worries ).

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Unstrung

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