Qualcomm announced the addition of two new flagship Internet of Things Wi-Fi chips at a press event in San Francisco today. The QCA401x Wi-Fi chip will power end-point devices like light bulbs and home surveillance cameras. The QCA4531 Wi-Fi chip will power hub devices like media servers.

Qualcomm said the QCA401x is designed to answer manufacturer demand for increased computing, memory, and advanced features while lowering size, cost, and power consumption.

The chip features a fully integrated micro-controller unit with up to 800KB of on-chip memory available to programmers and an expanded set of interfaces to directly interconnect with sensors, display and actuators.

The QCA401x includes a suite of communication protocols including Wi-Fi, IPv6, HTTP, and other cloud enablers, as well as an advanced security feature designed to maximize security in the smallest IoT devices.

The QCA401x is currently being sampled by some OEMs, Qualcomm said.

The QCA4531 chip features a user-programmable Linux/OpenWRT environment and extended wireless range. Qualcomm said the QCA4531 is ideal for multi-protocol bridging and communication, bringing together multiple wireless medium and bridging between different ecosystems. The QCA4531 can function as an access point supporting up to 16 devices simultaneously.

Like the QCA401x, the QCA4531 is also now shipping to a group of appliance manufacturers and other IoE-focused customers, Qualcomm said.

Qualcomm president Derek Aberle, SVP of product management Raj Talluri, and other executives were here to talk about the chip maker’s plans for the emerging IoT market.

Qualcomm hopes to put tiny low-power chips in a galaxy of end-point devices in homes, cars, health care facilities, smart cities, and in wearable devices.

Aberle said the IoT business opportunity could be anywhere from $1 billion to $19 billion, depending on which analyst group you believe. Whatever the exact number, it’s a market size that has many companies — including Intel, Samsung, and Broadcom — scrambling to get a product and service strategy in place.


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