EE Times: Does that explain why we aren’t seeing any smartphones on the market using your LTE modem?
Yes. It does take a lot of time and resources. But we’ve also gone
through a lot of ups and downs -- with one project started, then it’s
gotten off, then it’s back up again and so on. We are expecting
smartphones using our single-chip apps processor/LTE modem chip to
appear in shops in the second half of 2013.
EE Times: Considering that LTE isn’t a full-fledged market, shouldn’t Renesas Mobile have gone after apps processor/3G modem market? Do you think your
focus on LTE has cost you?
Schlett: Yes, we were hit by that. But
we’ve always said that our focus is on LTE. We believe that we’ve done
absolutely the right thing. Had we done other projects that don’t
require our LTE modems, we would have been distracted, and we would have
become just another apps processor/modem company – like ST-Ericsson or
EE Times: What’s your strategy going forward?
Schlett: We will need a few key OEMs.
EE Times: You mean, Apple or Samsung?
Schlett: Why not? But seriously, we do need a key volume OEM. Then, we want to play an active role in the ODM market.
EE Times: What do you mean by that?
We actually have a very strong support team of our own in Taiwan. We
expect the smartphone market to become more like a traditional PC value
chain. We want to position ourselves to be able to add more value in
EE Times: You have many multistandard,
multifrequency modem solutions – except for China Mobile’s SC-TDMA.
What are you going to do about that? Is an M&A an option?
Schlett: Yes, we’re looking into that.
EE Times: What’s your premium and mid-range product strategy?
We already have a premium platform that plugs in our LTE and Nvidia’s
apps processor. But, of course, when the high-end smartphone market is
totally dominated by Apple and Samsung, a high-end solution like ours
has suffered. For the mid-range market, we have a one-chip modem/apps
processor solution using dual-core ARM A9.
EE Times: In your single-chip solution, which graphics technology do you use?
Schlett: Imagination Technologies'. We've always used theirs and we will continue to use it.
EE Times: And your roadmap for the products rolling out in 2013?
We will be announcing shortly a quad-core single-chip apps
processor/LTE modem solution using ARM A15 and ARM A7 [both dual
core]. This is designed for higher performance smartphones. As for the
cost optimized version, we have yet to make our final decision… But it’s
logical to assume developing a single-chip solution based on the dual
EE Times: And these are for handsets to be launched in 2014?
Yes, by 2014 our LTE modem chip will be the third to fourth
generation, giving us at least a one-year advantage on most of our
EE Times: Your parent company, Renesas Electronics,
has been going through a lot of turmoil. Is Renesas Mobile going to be a part of a
new SoC-focused joint venture after the parent company spins off its SoC division not pertinent to its MCU-focused business?
The truth is, we don’t know. But we’re confident that there will be an
intelligent solution to that. Our mission is clear. For [Renesas Mobile], set up for
the global market, it’s our responsibility to take our modem technology
to the world.