Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Next-Generation ICs for Mobile Devices - Innovations in Wireless Design

Activities at recent wireless industry events such as the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, and CTIA Wireless in Las Vegas, make it clear that operators are accelerating deployment of 4G WiMAX and LTE networks to meet the growing demand for higher-performance mobile broadband services. Smartphones that can access these new 4G networks (such as the HTC EVO) are the key to subscriber adoption, driving the need for a new generation of mobile phone chip sets.

New designs must be adaptable to the plethora of existing 3G standards while simultaneously supporting the progressive evolution to various implementations of 4G. At the 2010 International Solid States Circuits Conference, where the most significant advances in chip design are presented, designers showed that they are indeed meeting the challenges of next-generation smartphone requirements.

In my recently published report on Next-Generation ICs for Mobile Devices, the most significant of these innovations in wireless chip design are reviewed and analyzed for the impact they will have on the key building blocks in future handsets.

Some of the highlights:

* Programmable RF/Analog Front-End (RF/AFE) circuits that will enable 3G/4G global roaming.

* Low-cost 4G baseband processors to accelerate implementation of LTE smartphones.

* Software-Defined Radios that are configurable for LTE, WiMAX, WiFi and mobile TV.

* Powerful application processors that will lower power consumption, increase performance and integrate heterogeneous processor cores, including H.264 codecs and 3D/2D graphics engines.

* Multi-band mobile-TV SoCs combining support for ISDB, T-DMB, and DVB standards.

* Audio output circuits to deliver lower-noise, higher fidelity to drive headphones.

My analysis of the leading-edge integrated circuit designs under development at wireless semiconductor companies worldwide, finds that advances being made in higher performance, re-configurable architectures will lead to a new generation of smartphones that will drive more rapid adoption of 3G and 4G mobile broadband services.

Companies covered in this report:

* Advanced Circuit Pursuit

* Analog Devices


* Broadcom

* Intel

* Marvell

* Nokia

* NXP Semiconductors

* Qualcomm

* Renesas

* Samsung

* ST-Ericsson

* Texas Instruments

* Toshiba

The report is titled Next-Generation ICs for Mobile Devices - Innovations in Wireless Design. A free excerpt can be downloaded at

For more information contact me at

Related Articles:
The Samsung Galaxy-S & HTC EVO at CTIA Day-1

Wireless technology in the spotlight on Day 1 at ISSCC

Clearwire's Silicon Valley WiMAX Innovation Network

Verizon Wireless LTE demo at CES

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