Peregrine Semiconductor Bets Big on Industry Shift in Wireless Chips
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developed the first specialized wireless chip that combines different radio frequency functions (power amplifier, wireless switch, antenna switch, and tuner) on a single microchip. More importantly, Peregrine says its new technology will make it easier for cellphone makers to reconfigure different smartphones so they can operate on different wireless networks without changing the hardware.
Cable says he anticipates that Peregrine will be demonstrating its new technology quite a bit at the upcoming Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the wireless industry’s largest conference. However, volume production of its Global 1 chips won’t begin until late 2015.
“It’s multi-mode and multi-band, and really kind of an all-in-one device,” Cable told analysts yesterday. “The associated switching and tuning elements are all built in, and it makes extensive use of reconfigurability.” In its statement today, in fact, Peregrine declares that its new product, dubbed the UltraCMOS Global 1, is the industry’s first “reconfigurable RF front end” chip.
Such reconfigurability is crucial because of the ever-increasing variety and complexity of smartphone designs, as well as the multiplicity of LTE networks around the world, the company argues.
When Apple introduced the iPhone 4, Cable says Peregrine had developed one version of its broadband cellular-data chip for Verizon’s network and another for AT&T’s. Today there are multiple versions of the iPhone—each requiring its own set of reference designs—amid a proliferation of rival mobile devices using different cellular modes and LTE network operators using close to 30 different radio frequency bands.
“Cell phone makers say they want a single SKU” (stock keeping unit) that can be easily reconfigured to work on any network, Cable says. The Peregrine CEO predicts that the wireless industry is fast … Next Page »