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Baseband mania hits Mobile World

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By eeNews Europe

The outlook is bright for most vendors. ”Smartphone growth of 31 percent favors suppliers into both high-end platforms and low-end China ODMs,” said analyst Doug Freedman of Gleacher & Co., in a recent report. ”We believe that high-end platforms, also used in tablets, demand higher performance image sensors, multi-core application processors, and touch sense. At the low end, low-cost integrations of 3G smartphone platforms will gain share.”

Intel Corp.’s Mobile Communications unit has announced a compact multimode (LTE/3G/2G) platform, dubbed XMM 7060. The latest enhancement of the company`s slim modem portfolio consists of the multimode baseband processor X-Gold 706 and the associated multimode RF transceiver SMARTi 4G.

The XMM 7060 slim modem platform fits in less than 700mm² PCB area, including all of the necessary system components for quad band LTE, penta band 3G and quad band EDGE applications. It supports LTE category 3 (CAT-3) throughputs (100-Mbps/50-Mbps download/upload respectively) and is compliant to LTE Release 8 standard supporting FDD and TDD mode for all bandwidth up to 20-MHz.

The X-Gold 706 baseband processor is manufactured in 40-nm process technology. First samples of the platform will be available by the third quarter of 2011, with volume shipment scheduled for the second half of 2012.

Intel also announced shipment of its XMM 6260 platform to key customers. Optimized for smart phone architectures coupled with an application processor or as a standalone solution for PC modems and data cards, the advanced HSPA+ platform is based on the X-Gold 626 baseband processor and the SMARTi UE2 RF transceiver.

Combined with the 3GPP Release 7 protocol stack, the XMM 6260 platform comprises a fully integrated HSPA+ system solution supporting HSPA category 14 (21-Mbps) in the downlink and category 7 (11.5-Mbps) in the uplink.

It is based on the ARM11-based processor architecture. The XMM 6260 platform is based on the X-Gold 626 baseband processor, which is manufactured by TSMC in 40-nm process technology.

Intel Mobile Communication was formerly a division of Infineon Technologies AG, called Wireless Solutions (WLS). Early in 2011, Intel completed the acquisition of Infineon’s wireless business that had more than 3,500 employees worldwide.

Another player, Marvell Semiconductor Inc., has rolled out its ”world phone platform” based on the PXA978 communications processor with an HSPA modem. Marvell’s PXA978 is said to the industry’s first single-chip solution to feature 3G UMTS and China’s TD-SCDMA standard with HSPA support.  

Additionally, the platform will feature the industry’s first Mobile MIMO, Avastar 88W8797, an 802.11n 2×2 dual-band Wi-Fi SoC designed to support high data rates for next-generation mobile devices.

Marvell’s PXA978 single chip solution uses 40-nm process technology and is designed to deliver 3G TD-SCDMA baseband combining high performance 1.2-GHz application processor with advanced 3D graphics and 1080p multimedia.

Not to be outdone, Taiwan’s MediaTek Inc. announced the availability of its MT6573 platform for mainstream 3G smartphones. The MT6573 platform supports a quad-band, 3G/HSPA modem with mobile broadband rates of 7.2-Mbps in the downlink and 5.76-Mbps uplink, as well as quad-band EDGE.

The integrated applications processing system combines a 650-MHz dedicated ARM11 for the Android operating system; support for advanced 3D graphics; multi-format video capture and playback up to FWVGA 30fps; high-resolution camera support to 8MP and a high-end FWVGA, touch-screen display. The platform chipset is completed with a full range of connectivity solutions for Bluetooth, WiFi, GPS, FM radio and Mobile TV from MediaTek.

The MT6573 platform is currently sampling to lead customers and will be in mass-production by mid 2011. MediaTek will be demonstrating the new MT6573 smartphone platform at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

Qualcomm Inc. came to the Mobile World Congress this week unveiling its road map for integrated and standalone LTE silicon—including an integrated quad-core processor–using 28nm process technology.

Qualcomm announced its next-generation Snapdragon processor family, code-named Krait, offering up to four ARM cores per die at speeds of up to 2.5 GHz per core, support for LTE and up to four 3-D graphics cores based on a new version of its Adreno core.

Krait includes the single-core MSM8930 for mainstream smartphones, the dual-core MSM8960 for high-end smartphones and tablets and the quad-core APQ8064 for high-end consumer devices. All are made in 28nm process technology.

All chipsets in the family will integrate WiFi, GPS, Bluetooth and FM radio and include support for near field communication as well as stereoscopic 3-D, video and photo capture and playback. With up to 20 Megapixel camera support, the APQ8064 will internally synchronize two camera sensors for 3D video recording and will support external 3D video playback.

Samples of the MSM8960 will be available in Q2 2011 and samples of the MSM8930 and APQ8064 will be available in early 2012.


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