by Will Park

The “soft modem” is a game changer.

It wasn’t too long agothat NVIDIA acquired a small-but-promising cellular modem maker Icera. Yesterday, the BBC published an inside look at the Bristol, England-based Icera labs, showcasing how a “soft modem” – a modem that can be reprogrammed with software to work across a variety of networks – could fundamentally change the mobile market for the better.

The cellular modem, sometimes referred to as the “baseband,” is a chip inside all mobile devices that is responsible for connecting the device to a wireless carrier’s network. This is no easy feat. And it’s made more difficult by the various wireless technologies and standards used by carriers around the world. Prompted by the sprawl, Icera developed its soft modem.

As the BBC points out, the soft modem’s ability to adapt to advances in wireless network technologies is what makes them so novel. Imagine a mobile phone that can be upgraded to take advantage of faster and faster data speeds as the industry marches onward. The technology was so unique and innovative that NVIDIA purchased the company in early 2011.

Notably, the BBC points out that it took the backing of NVIDIA to give this technology the legs to compete in a wireless ecosystem dominated by giants. With NVIDIA’s global reach and Tegra mobile super chip, Icera’s innovation will help drive the mobile computing revolution.

Check out the BBC video here.