9 May 2012

Murata selects Black Sand CMOS PAs for integrated 3G RF front-ends

Fabless semiconductor firm Black Sand Technologies Inc of Austin, TX, USA has been selected to provide its silicon power amplifier (PA) technology for integrated RF front-end products made by Murata Manufacturing Co Ltd. The products will be used to increase integration and improve the performance of 3G smartphones, tablets and datacards.

The new agreement combines Murata’s passive components with Black Sand’s CMOS PA technology. Integrating the PA together with other RF front-end components into a single module allows better optimization of performance, battery current, size, and cost, claims Black Sand. The firm says it was chosen to work with Murata due to its ability to cost-effectively implement demanding 3G PA specifications using standard silicon CMOS manufacturing technology. “Tier 1 cellular manufacturers are demanding increasing levels of sophistication and integration throughout the handset, and RF is no exception,” notes Norio Nakajima, VP of Murata’s module business unit.

“Industry estimates tell us that the market for RF front-end components is growing at a CAGR [compound annual growth rate] of around 15%, and will reach in excess of $5.5bn by 2014,” says Black Sand’s CEO John Diehl, citing Needham & Co’s ‘Mobile device RF front end TAM analysis and forecast’. “A year after we entered production with the BST34 Series devices, entering this relationship is a powerful endorsement of our technology and our ability to deliver.”

Black Sand claims that its PAs improve the reliability and data throughput of 3G smartphones, tablets and datacards, while benefiting from the reliability and economies of scale derived from pure CMOS manufacturing, as well as an improved supply chain, higher reliability, and lower cost.

Tags: Black Sand Murata CMOS PAs

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