Tiny Broadcom LTE Chip Enables Trimmer Tablets And Longer-Lasting Phones

4G phones and tablets could get smaller, run longer, and connect in more places, thanks to Broadcom's new 4G LTE Advanced modem, tipped as the industry's smallest so far. The Broadcom BCM21892 cuts power consumption by as much as 25-percent over a current LTE chip, the company claims, while taking up 35-percent less space and roaming across more network frequencies. That opens the door to a far more flexible 4G device.

The new modem can handle "virtually any" 3GPP LTE frequency band and combination, Broadcom says, including LTE FDD and TDD, and LTE-Advanced with carrier aggregation. There's also backward compatibility with HSPA+, TD-SCDMA, and EDGE/GSM.

VoLTE (voice over LTE) is supported, naturally, and with a 40-percent power saving over a more traditional WCDMA voice call, while data rates of up to 150Mbps are possible.

Meanwhile, since LTE alone isn't enough to satisfy the modern world's connectivity demands, there's also boosted "wireless coexistance" support. That helps cut down on radio interference between LTE, WiFi, and Bluetooth radios, meaning all three technologies can better cooperate in the same location.

We'll have to wait a while before we actually see the benefits of the BCM21892, however. Broadcom says the new LTE chip is only now sampling to its customers, with full production not expected until 2014.