The buzz around femtocells – desktop boxes that boost indoor mobile phone coverage and route calls over a broadband connection – has helped RadioFrame Networks raise an additional $28m in debt and equity backing, bringing its total funding to over $100m.
RadioFrame, which was founded in 1999 mostly by McCaw engineers and executives who left the mobile network operator after it was acquired by AT&T, has spent the last few years designing a femtocell around its own silicon. As a result it expects to be able to sell its petite Omnicell@home device for less than $100 – much cheaper than most rival products.
Intel failed at mobile phone chips before, so why should this time be any different? I got a chance to put that question to Intel CFO Stacey Smith at last week’s developer forum in San Francisco.
He had two answers. One was that Intel won’t make its push into smartphones until next year, by which time its new 32 nanometer technology will be in full swing. This should push the Atom processor (which will be hitting its stride in netbooks in the second half of this year) deeper into the high-volume, low-price mobile market: each wafer will be able to produce 2,400-2,500 die, or 400-500 per cent more than the existing technology, according to Smith.