Voice chip to enable mobile computing

Voice chip to enable mobile computing
David Manners IBM Microelectronics believes it can enable mobile computing by developing a voice control chip for handheld equipment, and a wireless connectivity chip for pocket-sized equipment. Currently IBM’s Via Voice speech recognition technology, allowing you to dictate into your PC and command it by voice, is a software product requiring Pentium-type processing power and 32Mbytes of DRAM. The co-processor under development at IBM is a hardware solution which will allow Via Voice to operate on pocketable machines running off ARM-type processors. The wireless chip combines RF and baseband processing. It is eighteen months away from being in products on sale in the High Street. Although IBM has not decided finally on the technology it will use, one part of it will definitely be silicon germanium (SiGe) and that could be combined with silicon-on-insulator wafers. “It makes a lot of sense to go SOI/SiGe to do RF and baseband on one chip,” said Guillaume d’Eyssautier, vice-president for sales and marketing at IBM Microelectronics. IBM will use the intellectual property it obtained from its purchase of San Diego RF specialist CommQuest to implement the chip. With its ARM licence, and shortly to be unveiled embedded DRAM technology, IBM believes it has all the technology needed to implement mobile computers/ communicators. For DRAM it is going down the double data rate (DDR) route which, IBM says, is popular with customers and could be used right across the PC range – not just for high end machines. IBM believes that PC133 DDR is the way the PC industry will go and is bringing out a 133MHz 256Mbit DDR DRAM in the second half of this year. If IBM is right, that knocks Rambus on the head.


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