Zarlink Introduces Advanced Voice Processing Technology Targeting High-End Hands-Free Communication Systems

- Featured at GlobalComm 2006, new single-chip voice processor improves sound quality for speakerphones and hands-free car kits

OTTAWA, April 26 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ - Zarlink Semiconductor (NYSE: ZL) (TSX: ZL) today announced that it is expanding its voice processing product portfolio with new single-chip voice processing technology for hands- free communication systems, including high-end car kits and speakerphones. Zarlink will be demonstrating its new voice processing solution at GlobalComm 2006. The device is now sampling with equipment manufacturers.

Zarlink's new voice processor is a flexible and programmable platform integrating dual-channel codecs with 16-bit sampling, audio-quality DACs (digital to analog converters) and increased MIPS capacity. The new single- chip solution helps designers of speakerphones and hands-free car kits to more effectively deal with complex noise conditions, such as high background noise, echo and double-talk. Fully supported by software, Zarlink's new voice processing chip offers an easy-to-use solution that lowers design cost and speeds time-to-market.

"Expanding our hands-free voice processing technology, this new product delivers improved sound quality versus competing solutions with an integrated platform that helps reduce design cost and complexity," said Andrew Faulkner, product line director, Voice Processing, Zarlink Semiconductor. "Optimally designed to combat high-noise situations, the chip's patented software algorithms ensure voice quality and full-duplex operation to support a natural two-way conversation."

Enabling high-quality hands-free voice performance

Meeting a growing demand for voice conferencing systems delivering superior voice quality, Zarlink's voice processing engine is designed specifically to handle severe noise conditions. The device's patented software algorithms continuously track echo path changes and reduce background noise while preserving high voice quality.

The chip also delivers exceptional performance in double-talk situations when two people are talking at the same time. Most hands-free communication systems only deliver half-duplex operation, meaning only the voice signal with the highest power is transmitted. As a result the conversation becomes stilted. Many competing full-duplex solutions will also stop tracking the echo environment during double-talk and then have to readapt once double-talk has stopped. This results in an audible burst of echo.

In comparison, Zarlink's hands-free voice technology algorithm is able to continuously converge and track changes in the echo path to support full- duplex operation.

Demand for hands-free car kits is also growing. Many governments have passed or are considering legislation that prohibits or limits the use of handheld phones while driving. In addition, car manufacturers are responding to consumer demand for higher performance in-car communication and audio systems.

"Many hands-free car kits available today are based on technology originally developed for low-quality speakerphones," said Andre Coucopoulos, product marketing manager, Voice Processing, Zarlink Semiconductor. "However, these lower quality technologies can't handle the more obtrusive and severe noise conditions inside a moving vehicle. In comparison, Zarlink's solution ensures echo cancellation, full-duplex and noise reduction performance to support high-quality voice."

About Zarlink Semiconductor

For over 30 years, Zarlink Semiconductor has delivered semiconductor solutions that drive the capabilities of voice, enterprise, broadband and wireless communications. The Company's success is built on its technology strengths including voice and data networks, optoelectronics and ultra low- power communications. For more information, visit

Shareholders and other individuals wishing to receive, free of charge, copies of the reports filed with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission and Regulatory Authorities, should visit the Company's web site at or contact investor relations.

Certain statements in this press release constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Such forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks, uncertainties, and other factors which may cause the actual results, performance or achievements of the Company to be materially different from any future results, performance, or achievements expressed or implied by such forward-looking statements. Such risks, uncertainties and assumptions include, among others, the following: rapid technological developments and changes; our ability to achieve profitability and generate positive cash flows in the future; our exposure to product warranty claims resulting from product defects or failures; our dependence on our foundry suppliers and third-party subcontractors; increasing price and product competition; our exposure to currency exchange rate fluctuations and other factors inherent in our international operations; and other factors referenced in our Annual Report on Form 20-F for the fiscal year ended March 25, 2005. Investors are encouraged to consider the risks detailed in this filing.

Zarlink, ZL and the Zarlink Semiconductor logo are trademarks of Zarlink Semiconductor Inc.

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