SAN FRANCISCOUnder pressure to provide differentiated handset offerings, OEMs nevertheless want to use the same base platform for their mobile phone products, according to Deepak Prakash, director of marketing for multimedia products at Toshiba America Electronic Components Inc.'s ASSP business unit. This environment challenges chip vendors to make sure that their products offer the right blend of performance and features in order to stay relevant as long as possible, he added.
EE Times put five questions to Prakash last week as part of a series of written interviews with mobile chip vendors conducted in advance of Mobile World Congress. The following are excerpts from Prakash's responses.
Toshiba America Electronic Components
What are the three biggest changes (new trends in business, apps, operating systems, hot features, technology, geography, etc.) you are seeing on the mobile handset market in 2010 and beyond?
Deepak Prakash: High-functionality phones with differentiated features are the future of the mobile handset market. Customers want to use the same base platform for their phones, but provide differentiation between models through varying feature sets. Toshiba enables this by providing solutions like I/O expanders, keypad controllers, interface converters and bridges that make it easier for the mobile handset manufacturer to provide different features. Additionally, as smart phone processors move to other mobile applications like eReaders and WebTablets, Toshiba's devices can be used to let smart phone processors interface with peripherals from a different supply chain.
EE Times: What are the new requirementsimposed by handset OEMs and carriersfor mobile handset chip vendors?
Prakash: OEMs and carriers are constantly looking for new features from the handset manufacturers. Toshiba's mobile peripheral devices enable the OEM to quickly and easily add new peripherals. Our bridges also provide serializing and deserializing functions. This reduces the number of wires that have to run all over the mobile device, which enables mechanical design flexibility and reduced electro-magnetic interference (EMI).
EE Times: What are the biggest threats and/or challenges lurking on the horizon for mobile handset chip vendors as a whole?
Prakash: The biggest challenge for mobile chipset vendors is the speed at which this market is moving. Carriers and OEMs are trying to differentiate themselves through their handset offerings, which causes rapid product development cycles and extreme time-to-market pressures. This environment challenges chip vendors to make sure that their products offer the right blend of performance and features in order to stay relevant as long as possible.