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August 26, 2014

Is Intel developing a 4G modem for the Internet of Things?

The firm announces ‘world’s smallest’ 3G cellular modem and IoT luxury bracelet.

By Amy-Jo Crowley

Intel has introduced a 3G cellular modem, which it claims is the world’s smallest chip for connecting billions of sensors, apps and everyday objects to the Internet.

The Intel XMM 6255 3G modem supports both 3G, Wi-Fi and 2G connections, which Intel hopes will target IoT uses in areas such as, healthcare monitors and advertising.

The chip also supports downlink speeds of up to 7.2 Mbits/second and uses a single antenna.

"For higher throughput, you need two antennas to receive and that adds complexity and cost," Stefan Wolff, COO of R&D in Intel’s Wireless Platform group, told EE Times.

He added that an LTE modem would be a "logical next step" in Intel’s IoT roadmap.

The announcement comes as the chip maker is also expected to announce its first luxury IoT bracelet in the coming weeks.

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A person familiar with the matter said the wearable will not be a fitness tracker, but a "more premium, high-end product meant for a niche type of consumer".

The bracelet, designed by fashion house Opening Ceremony and luxury retailer Barneys New York, is expected to be announced at the Intel Developer Forum or Fashion Week in early September.

Although features and price weren’t disclosed, Daniella Vitale, COO of Barneys New York, said back in January at the Consumer Electronics Show: "One of the greatest opportunities for wearable technology as a concept to be successful is fairly simple — to design a beautiful accessory that our customers would desire.

"It is exciting to be part of an elite group of brands to bring the reality of smart fashion to life."

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