Atheros Communications yesterday announced the Atheros AR3011, a Bluetooth 2.1+Enhanced Data Rate (EDR) solution for laptop and desktop PCs, according to the company.

Familiar to the PC market for providing 802.11 wireless LAN chipsets, Atheros previously had not offered a Bluetooth solution. While the AR3011 is the company’s first Bluetooth chip, it will be the industry’s first chip meeting the Bluetooth 2.1+EDR specifications, which are designed to ease pairing of Bluetooth devices, increase security and use less power to extend battery life.

Atheros chose to enter the Bluetooth arena because the percentage of PCs with Bluetooth is projected to more than double by 2011, said Srinivas Pattamatta, senior product marketing manager for Atheros.

“Especially in the notebooks, we see a very high growth rate of Bluetooth, up to 70% attach rate by 2011,” he said. “Basically, more and more consumers are using it for synching purposes, like with their calendar or contacts.”

While most existing Bluetooth chips found in PCs are re-purposed solutions originally designed for implementation in handsets, the AR3011 has been optimized for the PC market, including enough SRAM built into the chip that external flash memory is not needed, Pattamatta said. Overall, the AR3011 represents a 60% reduction in the total component count, resulting in substantially lowered bill of materials.

Atheros will offer the Bluetooth solution on cards in combination with its WLAN offerings, a package that is possible because of the company’s patent-pending arbitration schemes to mitigate potential interference, Pattamatta said.

“There is a de facto scheme available in the market today that does solve the problem to some extent, especially if you’re close to the access point,” he said. “But, as you start moving further from the access point and the data rates start increasing, some of these schemes fall apart. So what we’ve done is add some more algorithms to take care of that.”