Intel builds 'world's smallest' 3G modem

Modem Intel is targeting the Internet of Things market, which includes wearables and sensors

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Intel has unveiled a 3G modem not much bigger than a UK penny or US one-cent coin, with the aim of embedding it in connected devices around the home.

The company says the XMM 6255, with an area of about 300 sq mm, is the world's smallest modem.

The standalone chip could be used in wearable tech, as well as security devices such as "smart" smoke alarms.

It is built to protect against overheating, and withstand tough conditions.

The modem also features an embedded power supply.

More than size

Sergis Mushell, a research director at analytics company Gartner, said the product signalled Intel's intent to gain a foothold in the mobile connectivity market.

"It's not just about the size of it," he told the BBC. "What Intel is really doing is going after a significant stake in the Internet of Things market, where connectivity is most important.

"Getting connectivity right is essential for their entire product portfolio," he added, referring to Intel's traditional business of making processors.

He added that "anything with a screen will need to have connectivity" and processors will have to be combined with secure, low-power, connectivity technologies.

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