Headquartered in the Silicon Valley of Taiwan, Realtek Semiconductor Corp. is a leading provider of computer components, network devices and multimedia products. The company designs, manufactures and sells a wide range of products that are mainly categorized in two divisions: Communications Network ICs and Computer Peripheral and Multimedia ICs. Some of the products in its line of network solutions include network interface controllers, traditional Ethernet controllers, network switch controllers and gateway controllers, among others. Realtek currently has approximately 900 employees, more than 700 of them well versed in the research and development field.
Realtek was founded in 1987 and listed on the Taiwan Stock Exchange in 1998. One of its early successes was the RTL8139 series of Ethernet controllers released in the late 1990s, a line that dominated the market for many years. These products fell into the peripheral and multimedia category, consisting of traditional audio codecs, high definition codecs, clock generators, card reader controllers and LCD controllers. The most notable Realtek controllers were the 10/100M Ethernet line, having a global market share of 70% in 2003. Its AC97 audio codecs also claimed 50% of the market. Today, its ALC850 and RTL8139 are favorites on the OEM market, offering standard features and low prices. In Asia, the RTL8139 Realtek NIC is often referred to as a crab card, alluding to the crab-like appearance of the company logo.
Realtek has announced on numerous occasions that it would dedicate its R&D resources and expertise to other areas in the future. Some of the markets the company is considering include digital television, along with more advanced wireless technologies such as UWB (Ultra Wide Band) and the proposed 802.11n standard. It appears as if Realtek is gearing up for the highly anticipated myriad of concepts and applications that have been proposed to advance existing and newly emerging technologies.
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