One of the bigger challenges of spreading LTE has been size; going 4G has tended to put on a little weight. A new Sierra Wireless embedded modem, the AirPrime EM7700, could be just the ticket to shedding those pounds. It's reputedly the thinnest module ever made, at a tenth of an inch deep, and should slot into an Ultrabook or tablet without anyone making snide comments about the extra bulk. The EM7700 is still using the Qualcomm MDM9200 Gobi chipset that we spotted in the related MC7700 and Lumia 900, and won't have world 4G roaming -- in fact, it's explicitly tuned just to AT&T's LTE frequencies, so there's no question as to who gets first crack. Shipments are due to start in the last few weeks of spring and will make it entirely probable that AT&T's next wave of 4G mobile gear will have slimmed down a few belt notches.
Sierra Wireless unveils the world's thinnest 4G LTE embedded module
At only 2.5 mm thick, the new AirPrime™ EM7700 module is ideal for tablets and ultra-portable notebooks, offering the best in portability and connectivity
Vancouver, Canada – June 7, 2012 – Sierra Wireless (NASDAQ: SWIR) (TSX: SW) today introduced the world's first thin form factor (TFF) embedded wireless module for 4G LTE networks. The AirPrime™ EM7700 embedded wireless module measures only a nominal 2.5 millimeters thick and is designed for use in ultraportable notebooks, tablets, and other devices where thinness is a critical design constraint. Shipments are expected to begin in the second quarter of this year.
Made exclusively for connecting to the AT&T 4G LTE network, the AirPrime EM7700 is based on the AirPrime MC7700 module, which was certified by AT&T last year. Designed to support Windows 8, the AirPrime EM7700 utilizes Qualcomm's Gobi™ 4G LTE modem, the MDM9200™, and is compatible with Qualcomm's computing API and the USB-IF Mobile Broadband Interface Model (MBIM) for easy integration by PC OEMs. It offers a connectorized interface to enable build-to-order logistics, allowing manufacturers to offer it as an optional add-on to their devices. The AirPrime EM7700 also supports HSPA+ on the AT&T network for use in areas where LTE is not yet available.
"Demand for smaller, thinner devices has continued to grow, and at the same time, we have become accustomed to being able to connect tohigh-speed networks from our gadgets anytime and anywhere," said Dan Schieler, Senior Vice President, Mobile Computing for Sierra Wireless. "The AirPrime EM7700 module offers an innovative, much-needed solution for OEMs building 4G connectivity into ultra-thin devices, and we look forward to working with our customers to bring it to market in exciting new products."
"The Sierra Wireless AirPrime EM7700 module, powered by Qualcomm's Gobi 4G LTE modem, is a compelling solution for the new ultra-portable devices we are seeing on the market today," said Fram Akiki, senior director of product management at Qualcomm. "Consumers have become accustomed to using their portable devices like tablets and notebooks for bandwidth-intensive activities like streaming media, and Qualcomm's Gobi technology is designed to provide an uncompromised mobile connectivity experience to meet their needs."
"Mobile broadband data usage is on the rise, driven in no small part by gadgets like tablets and other ultra-portable devices," said Glenn Lurie, President, Emerging Enterprises and Partnerships, AT&T Mobility. "As consumers look for devices they can carry with them and use anytime, anywhere to suit a variety of purposes, size, shape, and weight continue to be critical considerations in their buying decisions."
Sierra Wireless is working with leading OEMs to integrate the AirPrime EM7700 embedded wireless module into a variety of devices, including tablets and ultra-portable devices expected to reach the market later this year.