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SiPort: Getting HD-R on Mobile Devices Is Essential

Company recently rolled out new smaller, lower-power chip

Silicon Valley chipmaker SiPort agrees that many consumers are not going to buy a new radio these days and that they want their audio entertainment as part of their portable, personal devices.

Noting the established base of some 100 million iPods sold to date in the U.S., SiPort’s Sunder Velamuri said his company is focused on getting its HD Radio chip on mobile platforms. We reported Tuesday that SP1010 is shipping to receiver and module manufacturers.

It’s crucial for HD Radio to get into mobile devices, he tells me, noting that 80 million MP3 players have been sold in this country. Even with the economic downturn, he noted that Apple sold about 22 million iPods in the fourth quarter of 2008.

The single-chip HD Radio solution is small at 9 x 9 millimeters and it draws 110 milliwatts of power, several times less than competitors, SiPort says. Device makers don’t want HD Radio “to make their design fatter, bigger or have less battery life,” he told me.

Samsung, NXP Semiconductor and Texas Instruments also make HD Radio chips, with the latter two focusing on the automotive market.

This is the first time the company is speaking out officially since Nov. 14 when a former employee shot and killed three people. The company has since moved to another location; all 38 of its staff stayed with SiPort.

“After the tragedy, the company is coming together,” Velamuri told me in his first interview with radio trade press since the fall tragedy.