Cypress Semiconductor Doubles Down on Car Connectivity

By James Morra, Contributing Editor

Cypress Semiconductor released an automotive chip that supports both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth without the performance loss caused by real-time switching between radio frequency bands used by each standard. The company also squeezed two Wi-Fi circuits into it to serve the 2.4 and 5 GHz bands, improving the connection for people in the car.

The CYW89359, which is in full production, uses real simultaneous dual band technology to deliver two separate streams of information at full throughput without stepping on each other’s toes. That way, passengers can stream music from the internet to one smartphone and connect another to the car’s dashboard with applications like Apple CarPlay, which uses Bluetooth.

“People now expect to enjoy the same connectivity, rich multimedia content and user experience in a vehicle that they get at home,” said Brian Bedrosian, vice president of marketing for the company’s Internet of Things business, in a statement. That means “all the passengers in a car connecting at once and each streaming their own high-fidelity video and audio content.”

Garmin underlined that shift with its new infotainment system released at the International Consumer Electronics Show last week in Las Vegas. The technology inside it streams navigation data from the car’s center console to tablets and smartphones using Wi-Fi, allowing passengers in the rear seat to track their route, search points of interest, and change the destination.

For Cypress, these automotive chips are increasingly vital to its financial welfare. The company reaped around a third of its $2.4 billion of revenue from the automotive business over the last year. Cypress supplies almost two-thirds of the NOR flash chips used in vehicles, while it also dominates in microcontrollers that power dashboard displays.

In 2016, the company selected the head of its programmable microcontroller and automotive business Hassane El-Khoury as the new chief executive, signaling that it would delve deeper into the fast growing market of car electronics. He replaced T.J. Rodgers, who had been chief executive since he founded Cypress in 1982.


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