Qualcomm Technologies is claiming an industry first with the release of the RF360 mobile chip, which offers global support for all 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks and features components designed to boost signal strength, reduce bulk and save energy.
The radio-frequency front-end solution includes an envelope power tracker for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices, a dynamic antenna matching tuner, an integrated power amplifier-antenna switch, and a 3D-RF packaging solution incorporating front-end components. The RF360 is also designed to reduce power consumption and improve radio performance while reducing the RF front-end footprint inside a smartphone by up to 50 percent.
With 40 cellular radio bands worldwide, band fragmentation is the biggest obstacle to designing today's global LTE devices, and the RF360 is designed to help original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) develop multiband, multimode mobile devices supporting all seven cellular modes. Qualcomm notes OEMs can combine the RF front-end chipsets with the company's Snapdragon all-in-one mobile processors and Gobi LTE modems to architect a complete LTE solution.
By reducing power (by up to 30 percent, depending on the function) and heat dissipation, the chip could enable OEMs to design thinner smartphones with longer battery life, while the tuner improves the antenna's performance and connection reliability in the presence of physical signal impediments, like the user's hand. Qualcomm said products featuring the complete RF360 solution are anticipated to be launched in the second half of 2013.
"The wide range of radio frequencies used to implement 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks globally presents an ongoing challenge for mobile device designers. Where 2G and 3G technologies each have been implemented on four to five different RF bands globally, the inclusion of LTE brings the total number of cellular bands to approximately 40," Alex Katouzian, Qualcomm Technologies senior vice president of product management, said in a statement. "Our new RF devices are tightly integrated and will allow us the flexibility and scalability to supply OEMs of all types, from those requiring only a region-specific LTE solution, to those needing LTE global roaming support."
Qualcomm also announced an RF transceiver chip, the WTR1625L, which can accommodate all cellular modes and 2G, 3G and 4G LTE frequency bands and band combinations that are either deployed or in commercial planning globally. Additionally, it has an integrated GPS core that supports Global Navigation Satellite System (GLONASS) and Beidou systems. The WTR1625L is integrated in a wafer-scale package and offers 20 percent power savings compared with previous generations, a company release said.