SOURCE: Avnera Corporation

October 22, 2007 00:01 ET

Avnera Announces New "Wired-Quality" Wireless Music and Voice Chip Technology

Three Products on Shelves This Month With a Dozen More Planned From Acoustic Research, Audioengine, Ihome, Polycom, Rocketfish and More in Q1

BEAVERTON, OR--(Marketwire - October 22, 2007) - Avnera™ Corporation today announced a new semiconductor chip technology for wireless speakers, microphones, headphones and headsets that delivers uncompressed CD-quality sound and solves the interference problems that have plagued wireless audio for decades. Avnera's breakthrough is a new streaming transmission technology and six layers of interference protection, all on a single piece of silicon that's plug-and-play easy to use at a 30 percent lower total system cost.

"Every consumer wants to be free from wires, but there's never been a low-cost, high-quality, easy-to-use wireless audio solution for things like speakers, headphones and headsets. We've taken an entirely different technical approach and built this system from the ground up to deliver CD-quality sound without interference, to operate as a plug-and-play unit, and to be affordable. Avnera has developed the technology that will take wireless audio to the mass market," said Manpreet Khaira, CEO Avnera Corp.

Avnera's new products are the AudioMagic™ chip, which enables uncompressed CD-quality sound for music applications, and the VoiceMagic™ chip, which offers wideband voice (16KHz sampling rate) transmission, fixed end-to-end voice latency to support echo cancellation and a small and cost-efficient form factor. AudioMagic and Voicemagic are the first two product families under the AvneraAudio brand, which represents innovation, ease of use and high-quality sound in audio products.

AVNERA'S INNOVATIONS: SOUND QUALITY, COST, EASE OF USE

Sound quality -- Traditional wireless audio technologies have such poor sound quality because they were designed to transmit data, not real-time music. If a packet is dropped in a data transmission system it's just resent by the transmitter, which is fine for data applications but can create interruptions in music, as well as noise clicks and pops. To address this problem, Avnera created a real-time streaming transmission technology designed specifically for music. Avnera incorporates six sound quality innovations that reconstruct corrupted packets when they arrive -- rather than re-sending them -- improve signal reception and virtually eliminate interference.

--  Avnera employs audio specific forward error correction to let the
    receiver repair lost data due to bursts of interference. This feature
    allows the system to forgo the typical retransmission regime used in many
    wireless systems.
--  Avnera also employs psycho-acoustic techniques and time dispersion to
    spread out errors in time. These features allow the Avnera system to
    conceal longer bursts of interference.
--  Avnera has a small spectrum footprint in the 2.4 GHz spectrum. This
    feature allows the system to use any of 40 possible channels, making the
    system more resilient to interference, in addition to making it less of an
    interferer to other systems.
--  Avnera's system uses a dynamic frequency selection algorithm to choose
    the optimal channel for communication. This feature monitors the entire 2.4
    GHz spectrum for interference and seamlessly switches channels if required
    while maintaining a perfect audio link.
--  Avnera's chips support two separate antenna systems and chooses the
    one that is sending/receiving the best signal, switching instantaneously.
    This feature gives Avnera superior performance in indoor and in-motion
    (e.g. headphone and headset) applications.
--  Avnera uses dynamic power control to allow the radio frequency
    amplifier to increase power if the receiver is far away, or decrease if
    it's close. This feature makes the system very power efficient and less of
    an interferer to other wireless systems, which is critical in a cubicle
    environment.
    

Reduced cost -- AudioMagic and VoiceMagic families of chips provide a high-performance system at 30 percent lower system cost than competitors. The cost is lower because Avnera has integrated all of the different chips normally used in a wireless audio device onto a single chip. This integration drives down the cost of the entire system, ensures audio quality, and accelerates time to market. For instance, a typical wireless stereo headset requires eight chips and 131 separate parts. An Avnera-based solution requires just 2 chips and 65 parts.

Ease of use -- Many wireless systems are difficult to use because they require you to download software, install drivers, etc. AvneraAudio-based products are plug-and-play. You plug them in and they work -- no software installation, no profiles. Many wireless systems are little better than wired systems because of their short range. Avnera-enabled products have 50 percent more range at the same output power as other wireless products and aren't affected by other wireless devices, so you can use them wherever you want.

AvneraAudio-BASED SOLUTIONS

A dozen products from companies including Audioengine, Acoustic Research, Rocketfish -- a Best Buy brand, SDI Technology Inc.'s iHome™ product line, as well as enterprise products from Polycom, are scheduled for release in Q1. A headset designed for Internet phone calling using an Avnera chip will soon be Skype Certified™. Three AvneraAudio-based products are available this month for purchase worldwide:

--  Acoustic Research Wireless Headphones (AWD210)
    This headphone is designed for music listening and features 2.1 channel
    high-definition sound.
    $199 -- available online and at selected retail locations
    
--  Polycom CX400 Cordless Phone
    The CX400 is the first wireless handset with a desktop base station
    that connects to a PC via a USB connection and does not require a
    driver. It features a presence display, 10-meter (30-foot) wireless
    reception range, and 10-hour talk time. It is designed specifically for
    enterprise, high-density office environments.
    $179 -- available at the end of October through Polycom distribution
    partners and channels
    
--  RocketFish Wireless Rear Speaker Kit (RF-WHTIB)
    This wireless kit delivers crisp clear surround sound to your home
    entertainment system speakers without unsightly wires. Easy set up:
    connect the sender and speakers, plug in and power on.
    $99 -- available in all Best Buy stores and at www.bestbuy.com
    

Avnera is funded by Altien Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Best Buy, DAG Ventures, Intel Capital, JAFCO Ventures, Panasonic Venture Group, Polycom and Redpoint Ventures. More information, including a list of Avnera-enabled products for purchase, partner endorsements, and sales information is available on the new Avnera website, also launched today, at www.avnera.com.

About Avnera Corp.

Avnera Corp. is a fabless analog semiconductor firm based in Beaverton, Oregon that has pioneered AvneraAudio technology, enabling breakthrough products in wireless audio and VoIP, to be delivered at disruptive price points. Avnera is funded by Altien Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Best Buy, DAG Ventures, Intel Capital, JAFCO Ventures, Panasonic Venture Group, Polycom and Redpoint Ventures. Avnera is enabling numerous end-consumer products from major consumer electronics companies. More information is available at www.avnera.com.

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