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12 February 2008


RFMD launches new products at GSMA Mobile World Congress

Dual-band GSM/GPRS transmit module for emerging markets

At this week’s 2008 GSMA Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, RF Micro Devices Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA launched the RF4180 PowerStar dual-band GSM/GPRS transmit module, which is designed to reduce front-end complexity and address the price and performance requirements of emerging-market handsets.

The RF4180 leverages RFMD’s power control capabilities to deliver reduced solution size, simplified transmitter design, best-in-class harmonics and ease of implementation. The module has two symmetrical receive ports, 50-ohm matched input and output ports and GSM/GPRS Class 12 compliance. Designed for use as the final portion of transmit sections in GSM900/DCS1800 handsets, it minimizes the requirement for PA-to-antenna matching. When mated with cellular baseband system-on-chip (SoC) solutions, the module delivers a highly integrated radio solution capable of accelerating time to market cost-effectively, RFMD claims.

The module combines RFMD’s patented PowerStar integrated power control technology enhanced with the addition of power flattening technology and integrated Vbatt tracking to provide a complete power control system. RFMD’s automatic Vbatt tracking circuit monitors battery voltage and prevents the power control loop from reaching saturation, preserving handset switching spectrum at low battery voltages. RFMD’s power flattening circuitry reduces current and power variation into non-ideal loads (antenna mismatch), resulting in shorter handset development time and more robust handset performance. Also, an electrostatic discharge (ESD) filter provides ESD protection at the antenna port and is designed to minimize loss, providing maximum efficiency at rated output power (Pout).

“The RF4180 provides handset manufacturers high efficiency and improved performance in a cost-competitive, reduced size transmit module architecture,” says Paul Augustine, general manager of RFMD’s Components Solutions Business Unit. “This results in improved battery life and talk time as well as reduced thermal dissipation, all of which are key metrics in the development of emerging-market handsets.”

The RF4180 is available for $1.12 in quantities of 1 million pieces.

Flexible 3G multi-mode transmit system

RFMD has announced general market availability of its RF6280 3G transmit system, a flexible 3G multi-mode solution designed to simplify and accelerate the implementation of multi-band and multi-mode 3G handsets and mobile device platforms.

RF6280 supports all major WCDMA frequency bands and consists of a front-end power management IC optimized for use with either one or both of two available power amplifier (PA) options: the RF6281 and/or the RF6285. The RF6281 is a dedicated single-band PA module (supporting Band I), and the RF6285 is a flexible dual-path, multi-band PA module (capable of supporting Bands I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VIII, IX). The centerpiece of the system is the RF6280 front-end power management IC, which combines a low-noise, high-efficiency DC-to-DC converter with embedded hardware control algorithms.

The RF6280 uses analog bias control and DC-to-DC conversion technologies to intelligently and dynamically control PA operating conditions. Enabling mode-optimized PA efficiency and linearity performance, the RF6280 also ensures maximum efficiency across all power levels, data rates (voice-only to HSPA) and non-ideal load conditions (antenna mismatch). This helps to extend battery life and reduces average thermal dissipation.

By using the broadband characteristics of the dual-band RF6285, the 3G transmit system simplifies the implementation of multi-mode, multi-region 3G handset platforms, RFMD claims. Also, by leveraging a balanced (quadrature) PA architecture, it also provides improved total radiated power (TRP) and specific absorption rate (SAR) performance, eliminating the need for costly RF isolators and simplifying multi-band platform implementation.

The system provides the flexibility to design a single platform that can support multiple WCDMA bands simply by changing filter components, says Paul Augustine, general manager of the Components Solutions Business Unit. “No change to the RF layout of the phone board is necessary."

The compact design enables a significant reduction in the space requirements of a tri-band WCDMA solution, including filtering and front-end power management. When combined with improved TRP and SAR and best-in-class efficiency, the system facilitates highly efficient, cost-effective and flexible WCDMA platforms.

The RF6280, RF6281 and RF6285 are available for sampling. System pricing in 10,000-piece quantities is $5.00.

MicroShield Integrated RF Shielding

RFMD’s new MicroShield Integrated RF Shielding technology can eliminate the need for bulky and costly external shields by integrating RF shielding directly into the RFIC or module, reducing the height and volume requirements for RF sections by up to 25% and 50%, respectively, claims the firm. This also provides components that are insensitive to board placement, eliminating the risk of circuit retuning (accelerating time-to-market and reducing the cost of RF implementation).

MicroShield reduces the impact of electromagnetic interference (EMI) and radio frequency interference (RFI) by minimizing exposure to external fields and preventing energy leakage into unwanted areas of the host device. Handset makers can therefore place highly complex RF modules as they would any component that is insensitive to EMI/RFI, providing a‘plug-and-play’ solution that is robust to board design and layout changes.

Benefits include improved RF performance, lower total cost, reduced board space requirements and overall ease of RF implementation, claims RFMD.

MicroShield is applicable to any over-molded packaging technology and is first available in RFMD’s Polaris 3 Total Radio solution.

RFMD launches Polaris 3 Silver

RFMD has added to its Polaris family of GSM/GPRS/EDGE Total Radio RF solutions by launching the Polaris 3 Silver, which leverages MicroShield Integrated RF shielding with the performance of Polaris 3, which entered production in the September 2007 quarter.

The highly integrated, ultra-compact Polaris 3 RF solution integrates all the necessary functions of the RF section of quad-band EDGE cellular handsets, including the power amplifier, SAW filters, crystal oscillator, switch and transceiver. The antenna-to-baseband Total Radio implementation of Polaris 3 quickly and cost-effectively solves complex customer challenges related to the development and deployment of EDGE cellular handset platforms, speeding time to market with less RF design effort. The addition of MicroShield delivers Polaris 3 performance without sensitivity to board placement and at a significant reduction in both product volume and profile.

Polaris 3 Silver is assembled and tested at RFMD’s recently expanded Beijing, China, facility.

Based on current customer activity, RFMD forecasts growth of Polaris 3 in the March 2008 quarter and strong growth throughout 2008.

Location solutions for GPS in mobile devices

RFMD has also introduced the RF8000 series of location solutions, featuring software-based, system-on-chip (SoC) architectures and designed specifically for energy-sensitive mobile devices enabling location-based services such as global positioning system (GPS) applications.

Benefits include a powerful processing engine implemented in a highly integrated, low-power platform. The highly efficient architecture features an efficient RF design, flexible virtual correlation algorithms, powerful accelerator engine and innovative signal processing techniques, delivered in a compact SoC format, accommodating the stringent power requirements of cellular handsets. The reduced solution size and minimal external component count are sensitive to the limited area available for complementary radios in mobile devices.

See related items:

RFMD presents new wireless front-end technologies

RFMD prices $350m private placement; fiscal-year revenue to exceed $1bn, but forecasts slowdown next quarter

RFMD launches POLARIS 3 TOTAL RADIO transceiver for EDGE

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