Monday, January 22, 2007

Radio in a chip

You probably won't buy one of these, but you might buy something that has one inside.

Silicon Laboratories Inc. just announced an AM/FM receiver in an integrated circuit chip that enables broadcast reception to be easily added to consumer devices such as clock and portable radios, MP3 players, docking stations, cellphones, sex toys and bread warmers.

The Si473x is said to be the first fully integrated AM/FM radio receiver from antenna input to audio output in a single monolithic IC. According to Silicon Labs, conventional AM/FM radio circuits are large, expensive and difficult to make, limiting inclusion of radio functionality in many small, portable, high-volume applications.

The single-chip Si473x requires only two external components in 0.15 cm2 of board space compared to more than 50 components and 10 cm2 of board space for conventional solutions. Silicon said that the Si473x significantly simplifies design and manufacturing. The Si473x is the only AM/FM receiver that does not need manual alignment, which can take up to several minutes per device. While traditional AM/FM solutions may require four stages of hand tuning, the Si473x supports a wide variety of antennas with an on-chip varactor and auto calibration to streamline manufacturing. More at

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