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Belkin TuneCommand Uses Wireless RF Technology

First Sub-$1 2.4 GHz Transceiver (November 02, 2005)

Chipcon AS, a leading provider of high-performance, low-cost, low-power RF-ICs, today announced that Belkin's TuneCommand remote control for the iPod and iPod Mini is powered by Chipcon's CC 2500 RF transceiver. The company also announced that high volume shipments of the 2.4 GHz CC2500 RF transceiver has driven the cost down to a market-beating sub-$1 price, enabling significant cost savings for customers like Belkin Corp., provider of the TuneCommand remote for Apple iPods.

"Wireless communications will continue to advance and short-range applications will continue to explode," said Randall Stowasser, Product Development Manager at Belkin. "Chipcon's low-cost, high-performance CC2500 chip that is embedded in our remote controls for iPod(R) enable this revolution by providing performance at optimal price points and helps maintain our market strategy," continued Mr. Stowasser.

The TuneCommand for iPod allows you to roam and play the songs from your iPod virtually anywhere. Using Chipcon's wireless radio frequency technology, the TuneCommand Remote works from up to 150 feet (50 meters) away, regardless of barriers such as walls, ceilings, or windows that limit traditional remotes. It allows for control of your iPod to remain with you, even if your iPod is stashed in your glove compartment, backpack, or your home entertainment center. TuneCommand fits the 3G, 4G, photo, and mini iPod.

The Chipcon CC2500 RF transceiver has been in high-volume production since July 2005, and since then, Chipcon has shipped over 5 million units. "The CC2500 has exceeded all our expectations," says Barry Rudolph, Chipcon CFO. "The product has been very well received in the market, and our customers are extremely satisfied with it. Because of the high volume and the exceptionally good yield, we can now pass savings on to our customers. For the first time in the wireless communications RF industry, customers can now avail of a high-performance, lowest-power, 2.4 GHz RF transceiver at a sub-$1 price per unit."

"The low pricing of the CC2500 opens up new application areas for 2.4 GHz technology," added Mr. Rudolph. "The current price level allows high-performance 2.4 GHz two-way radios to replace old-fashioned single-channel, one-way 27 MHz radios. This means that price-sensitive applications like intelligent toys, computer peripherals and remote controls now can enjoy the benefits of high-performance 2.4 GHz RF technology."

The CC2500 combines excellent RF blocking and selectivity performance with low current consumption and advanced baseband functionality. The 2.4 GHz frequency band is very popular as it can be used world-wide. The frequency band is widely used; wireless LAN (IEEE 802.11b and g), Bluetooth(TM), IEEE 802.15.4 and ZigBee, cordless phones and microwave ovens all utilize this frequency band.

Using a radio with good blocking performance and a good frequency-agile or frequency-hopping protocol will ensure that the RF communication link is robust and provides a good end-user experience. The dual 64-byte FIFOs and the integrated packet handling support on the CC2500 free slow, low-cost MCUs from having to handle RF data in real-time.

"When evaluating a radio it is always important to view it as part of a system," says Dag Grini, Chipcon's Director of Technical Support. "For instance, if low cost and low power are two important design objectives, it is important to ensure that the radio will be low-power even when used with low-cost MCUs. Most low-cost MCUs do not have good low-power capabilities. By using the unique wake-on-radio function of the CC2500, our customers can use a low-cost MCU and still get low system power consumption. The same applies to cost; it does not matter if the radio chip alone has a low price if it requires expensive tight-tolerance external components or does not work well with slow, inexpensive MCUs."

Pricing and availability

As of now, the CC2500 is available for under USD $1 in 1M/year quantities. The chip is provided in a 4x4 mm QLP-20 package, and has been in high-volume production since July. Chipcon can also offer the CC2500 in naked die form to high-volume customers.

About Chipcon Group

Chipcon is a leading international semiconductor company that designs, produces and markets high performance standard radio frequency integrated circuits (RF-ICs) for use in a variety of wireless applications in the 300 to 1000 MHz and 2.4 GHz frequency bands.

Chipcon targets both consumer electronics and home and building automation end markets and has strong positions both in proprietary and standards-based radio technologies.

Chipcon Group ASA is the parent company and holding company that controls the activities of its wholly owned subsidiaries Chipcon AS, Chipcon Inc. and Figure 8 Wireless Inc. Chipcon's products are distributed worldwide and we are represented at 55 locations in 31 countries.

For more information, visit Chipcon's Web site at

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Related Keywords:Belkin, TuneCommand remote control, iPod and iPod Mini , Chipcon CC 2500 RF transceiver, 2.4 GHz CC2500 RF transceiver , TuneCommand remote , Apple iPods

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