Mass market LTE handsets by 2012, claims silicon developer

With the launch of commercial LTE networks planned for later this year, a handset chip developer is predicting that the first ‘real' handset to support the technology will not appear until the later part half of next year, and volume LTE phones will not become available until 2012.

According to Altair Semiconductor, it has just released customer samples of its Four-Gee-3100 LTE baseband chipset that it believes will be one of the first that can be used for LTE USB dongles, PC cards and even mobile handsets.

"Starting from today, device OEM and ODMs are able to build commercial grade LTE terminals without having to compromise on performance, power consumption or size of the LTE chipset," said Oded Melamed, co-founder and CEO of Altair.

Speaking to Unstrung, Eran Eshed, co-founder and VP of marketing and business development, maintained that Altair would unveil its first LTE radio modem this November, leading to production handsets using the company's silicon arriving on the market later in 2010. Vendor customers are working on designs now, "and you'll see real handsets in real trials in the second half of 2010."

This timeline, added Eshed, could see the LTE handset market gaining momentum during 2011, leading to mass market shipments (in the millions) in the year after. Despite Samsung, LG and others having announced LTE modem designs, Altair has rubbished these products as non-commercial devices.

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