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10 January 2007


RFMD enters RF switch market with GaAs pHEMTs

At this week's IEEE Radio and Wireless conference in Long Beach, CA, USA, GaAs-based RFIC maker RF Micro Devices Inc of Greensboro, NC, USA is showcasing its first RF switch products (in production to initial customers).

The high-power RF1200 and RF1450 leverage the switch technology developed for use in RFMD's transmit modules, and enable front-end applications in market segments including multi-mode GSM/WCDMA cellular handsets, antenna tuners, IEEE802.11a/b/g wireless LAN and cellular infrastructure.

"RFMD's entry into the RF switch market segment expands the company's total addressable market while complementing our growing product portfolio of industry-leading cellular transmit modules," says president and CEO Bob Bruggeworth. "Our first two RF switch product offerings ­ the RF1200 and RF1450 ­ enable complex front-end applications of feature-rich multi-mode handsets, improve overall RF system performance and help enable new
architectures. We expect to grow revenue in the RF switch market as we introduce new products and leverage our growing leadership position in cellular RF."

The RF1200 is a single-pole double-throw (SPDT) switch (fabricated with a 0.5µm GaAs pHEMT process and packaged in a 2x2mm, 6-pin, leadless QFN package) that meets the linearity requirements for WCDMA and features low insertion loss (0.35dB at 1GHz), low control voltage (2.6-5V), high isolation (25dB at 1GHz), and good harmonic characteristics (-80dBc at 1GHz), RFMD claims.

The RF1450 is a single-pole four-throw (SP4T) switch (packaged in a 3x3x0.6mm, 16-pin, leadless QFN package) designed to provide superior linearity performance for multimode WCDMA applications. Insertion loss is 0.60dB max, isolation is 15dB at 2.2GHz and harmonics are -75dBc at 1GHz. It includes integrated decoding logic, allowing switch control with just two control lines.

* At the 9th Annual Needham Growth Conference in New York, RFMD said that it expects to report improving profitability for the December 2006 quarter compared to the September quarter, boosted by increased internal GaAs pHEMT production, increased internal assembly, and revenue growth in excess of expense growth.

Operating income should exceed 10% of revenue. RFMD also continues to expect transceiver solution sales in the March 2007 quarter to be flat-to-up sequentially compared to the December 2006 quarter.

RFMD reiterated that it is targeting higher-dollar-content opportunities in cellular handsets and other wireless devices through sales of POLARIS TOTAL RADIO transceiver solutions, transmit modules and complementary wireless
products, such as WLAN, GPS and gallium nitride components for cellular infrastructure.

The firm also said that it has completed the sale of substantially all of its Bluetooth assets to QUALCOMM and expects to recognize a gain on the sale for the December quarter, as well as a reduction in operating expenses going

RFMD will report its December 2006 quarter results on 23 January.

* RF3159 linear EDGE PA supporting world¹s thinnest slider phone

RFMD says that its new RF3159 linear EDGE power amplifier (PA) is supporting Samsung's SGH-D900 'Black Carbon' mobile phone, which is the world's thinnest slider phone.

A member of Samsung's Ultra Edition range, the SGH-D900 is a GSM/GPRS/EDGE quad-band handset with an MP3 player with a micro SD-card expansion slot, 3.13 megapixel camera, support for a Bluetooth stereo headset, TV-output and a 2.1² 262K color screen.

The RF3159 is a high-linearity quad-band GSM/GPRS/EDGE PA designed to support EDGE transceivers using a linear transmit architecture, including transceivers by Silicon Laboratories, Infineon Technologies and NXP Semiconductors. The PA module (which is fully matched for easy implementation and housed in a small 6x6mm package) is designed to be the final amplification stage in a dual-mode GSM/GPRS/EDGE mobile transmit line-up operating in the 824-915MHz and 1710-1910MHz bands. Its gain and linearity line-ups enable handset makers to optimize the transmit chain to meet various requirements of linearity, efficiency and output power, RFMD claims.

"The RF3159 provides Samsung with a highly integrated, value-added RF solution, which will enable Samsung to further develop ultra-slim mobile phones in various form factors," says Bruggeworth.

RFMD forecasts that the EDGE handset market will grow by more than 50% in 2007.