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14 February 2007


Skyworks adds SoC-compatible, quad-band InteraLite front-end module for emerging handset markets

Skyworks Solutions Inc of Woburn, MA, USA has enhanced its Intera family of power amplifiers and front-end modules by adding the new SKY77531 high-power, high-efficiency transmit and receive quad-band solution, compatible with system-on-chip (SoC) architectures, as part of its InteraLite portfolio of solutions targeted at handsets for emerging markets. According to Strategy Analytics, the market for sub-$40 ultra low-cost handsets will rise from 19 million in 2006 to over 150 million units in 2010.

Launched at this week’s 3GSM World Congress 2007 in Barcelona, Spain, Skyworks says that the SKY77531 (available for sampling in second-quarter 2007) provides many of the same competitive advantages as its dual-band transmit and receive GSM/GPRS front-end module: low cost and small form factor.

“Our new front-end module complements our existing portfolio, furthering our partnerships with baseband suppliers and OEMs who leverage system-on-a-chip architectures as part of their low-end handset platforms,” says Liam K. Griffin, senior VP, sales and marketing.

The 6mm x 8mm SKY77531 front-end module with integrated power amplifier control (iPAC) contains a quad-band GaAs HBT power amplifier, a 1P6T pHEMT switch to enable flexible phone layout, and an integrated CMOS-based controller to manage the PA and switch. Such integration reduces the RF footprint and overall bill-of-materials (critical for low-cost phones). Given its high-power efficiency, its architecture also maintains overall thermal performance and improves battery life, claims Skyworks. Designed in a low-profile and compact form factor, the SKY77531 also offers a complete transceiver or SoC output-to-antenna and antenna-to-receive surface acoustic wave (SAW) filter solution.

Skyworks’ family of Intera and InteraLite front-end modules and power amplifiers support all key air interfaces and market segments, expanding the firm’s GPRS, EDGE, CDMA and WCDMA product portfolio.

* Skyworks’ multimode Helios WEDGE transceiver for high-speed data rates eliminates inter-stage filters

Skyworks is also introducing the SKY74210 Helios WEDGE multimode transceiver (to be sampled in fourth-quarter 2007) . Its architecture requires no inter-stage filters in the transmit (Tx) and receive (Rx) paths (saving board space, cost and design time) and enables high-speed data communication up to 14.4Mbps. It also provides flexibility for adopting best-in-class RF and baseband modems.

The Helios WEDGE transceiver is the first of several planned product launches and addresses several of the reasons why consumers have not yet accepted 3G cell phones in high-volumes: size, cost and battery life. The transceiver is 40% smaller than comparable solutions on the market, claims Skyworks, leaving board space for OEMs to integrate multimedia features such as WiFi, Bluetooth, FM receivers, and DVB-H. It also eliminates two inter-stage surface acoustic wave (SAW) filters, reducing the overall bill-of-material costs. Through such high-level integration and circuit design, battery life is improved, increasing both talk time and download time, claims Skyworks.

“Our new chipset offers a unique, all-inclusive multimode approach to enable our customers to exceed demanding market requirements as consumers increasingly demand power-intensive multimedia features,” says Stan A. Swearingen, VP and general manager.

According to Deutsche Bank estimates, EDGE and WCDMA handsets will grow from 322 million units in 2006 to 773 million units in 2008. Skyworks says it supplies EDGE radio solutions to three of the top-tier OEMs. Coupled with its high-volume experience with CDMA radios, the firm reckons that it is well positioned to meet the RF requirements and demands of WEDGE multimode handsets, which require compatibility with both air interfaces.

The SKY74210 transceiver is fabricated using 0.13 micron CMOS technology in a 7mm x 7 mm land grid array (LGA) package. The multimode radio uses a software-configurable architecture, allowing circuitry to be shared across all available modes. This direct conversion transmitter architecture effectively permits shared Tx EGPRS and WCDMA modes, enabling very high-speed data communication. The circuit design also makes it possible to eliminate two inter-stage SAW filters per band, which were previously required to provide adequate isolation in Tx and Rx signal paths.

Drivers are provided so that designers can use separated EGPRS and WCDMA power amplifiers for optimized efficiency. Also, the baseband interface is a set of six-wire, high-speed serial ports.