A photo of the module posted on FCC's website
A photo of the module posted on FCC's website
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It is reported that a wireless LAN chip manufactured by a Japanese start-up company Key Stream Corp. will be adopted in Toshiba Corp.'s portable music player currently under development. The news is supported by the fact that a Key Stream's chip is seen in the picture of a board that was in the application document for the approval of terminal equipment submitted by Toshiba to the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC). It is also reported in the US news sites and other websites that this portable music player is "Zune" being developed by Microsoft Corp. It is likely that a Japanese manufacturer's wireless LAN chip will be employed as the critical component of Microsoft's strategic product.

The picture shows that the chip used in the board is Key Stream's "KS3021." The chip is an RF transceiver IC compliant with IEEE802.11g for use on the 2.4 GHz band which is characterized in its extremely low standby power consumption of approximately 80 uW. Although the product name of another IC on the board has been blacked out, "it is supposedly KS7010, a baseband processing LSI also available from Key Stream," an industry source says. With the advantage of low power consumption, both products are targeted for embedded devices.

Thus far, the leading manufacturers in the wireless LAN chipset development have mostly been the companies in the US or European countries such as US Broadcom Corp. and US Atheros Communications, Inc. "It seems that the decisive factor in the adoption of Key Stream's chipset is its low standby power consumption," observes the industry source.