NORWOOD, Mass. -- The Global Systems for Mobile Communications (GSM) cellular handset market has gained design momentum with the separate introduction of new chip sets from Analog Devices Inc. and Philips Semiconductors.
While standards such as CDMA and TDMA are expected to begin to compete strongly, particularly for 3G handset applications, GSM-based handsets are expected to continue to lead in total shipments for the next few years, said Will Strauss, an analyst with Forward Concepts in Tempe, Ariz.
GSM cellular phone unit shipments totaled 125.6 million in 1999, up 42% from 1998, according to the Wireless2000 study by Micrologic Research and Forward Concepts. By 2004, GSM shipments are expected to exceed 250 million, compared with 180 million CDMA phones, and 48 million TDMA phones.
"GSM is one of the world's most explosive markets, and as it becomes more widespread, Analog Devices is prepared to exceed market demands with solutions that provide more functionality at less cost, [and] shorten development cycles," said Christian Kermarrec, vice president of RF and wireless system products for Analog Devices, based in Norwood.
ADI has introduced its fourth generation GSM chip set, the AD20msp430 SoftFone. When used in combination with the company's previously introduced Othello RF chip, the set provides a high performance GSM solution, said Doug Grant, business development director for RF and
wireless systems products at ADI.
"By our estimation we've taken down the bill of material for a GSM handset by about 30%," Grant said. "Manufacturers in reasonable volumes can build a complete GSM terminal for around $40. In addition, a complete dual-band terminal can be built in a 20-square-centimeter form factor. We've also managed to get the radio down from something more than 200 components, to under 100."
The AD20msp430 is based entirely on RAM, allowing customers to load different software versions into the handsets to complete high-end to low-end implementations using a common hardware platform, he said. The chip set can accommodate 2.5G standards, including General Packet Radio Service (GPRS), and High Speed Circuit Switched Data (HSCSD), and is forward-compatible with 3G cellular standards, Grant said.
The AD20msp430 is composed of the AD6521 analog baseband chip, and the AD6522 digital baseband chip, which includes a DSP based on ADI's 218x architecture, and an ARM-7 RISC processor.
Future generation GSM chip sets are likely to incorporate ADI's latest-generation 219x DSP architecture, or the DSP architecture being co-develop by ADI and Intel Corp., as well as future generation ARM cores, Grant said. The AD20msp430 is sampling now. Production is planned for
August, with a price of $15 each in quantities of 100,000.
Philips, meanwhile, has introduced the UAA3535, a chip set that supports the 900-, 1,800-, and 1,900-MHz GSM frequency bands on the same device. The single-chip device also supports the emerging GPRS standard, which enables wireless data to be sent at speeds up to 115 kilobits per second.
Another feature of the product is the company's new and advanced near-zero intermediate-frequency (N-IF) receiver architecture. This provides several advantages over traditional RF chips based on double-conversion architecture, according to Yvan Droinet, international marketing manager for Philips in Caen, France.
The breakthrough was achieved by replacing the conventional IF configuration, which requires the use of an expensive SAW filter, with a single-conversion alternative that can be implemented entirely on the same chip.
Housed in 48-package LQFP, the UAA3535 is $8 in 100,000-unit quantities. The chip is sampling, with volume production slated for July.