Marvell, which went through an arduous certification process with its
previous LTE modem chip, is now claiming that the company is winning
some LTE design-wins with global OEMs, including ZTE. Weili Dai,
Marvell’s co-founder, told EE Times that the company expects products
based on Marvell’s single-chip LTE/apps processor platform to go on sale
That said, Nvidia’s LTE modem, i500, appears definitely keeping up with its competitors’ solutions.
his blog, Nvidia’s Carmack wrote: “The i410 is now certified for use on
AT&T’s LTE multi-mode network and is a testament to the
capabilities of the soft modem architecture. It’s been an ideal
foundation for the i500, our second-generation LTE modem, which has more
than five times the computational capacity of its predecessor.”
Nvidia’s i500 has been designed for “global LTE multi-mode deployment”
designed to serve high-end and mainstream devices globally, wrote
Strauss is impressed with Nvidia’s modem chip, largely
because it took Nvidia only 20 months after it acquired Icera to
deliver a combined application processor/advance modem product. He
added, “Of course, Icera had been offering modems since 2005 and had an
aggressive startup culture and advanced wireless design talent.
Meanwhile, Nvidia had deeper pockets and an equally aggressive culture.”
i500 multimode modem based on a 28nm process is paired with its own
65nm RF transceiver (multi-band FDD & TDD LTE/HSPA+/EDGE and
TD-SCDMA) with RX diversity.
It’s important to note, however,
that Nvidia’s i500 modem is introduced with LTE Cat 3 capability (100
Mbps DL), not Cat 4. But Nvidia claims that it is software upgradeable
to LTE Cat 4 with carrier aggregation (150 Mbps DL). Strauss observed,
“It is perhaps the only LTE modem capable of software upgradeability
(over the air, no less); so it really is a software-defined radio.”
to Marvell, at MWC 2013, Marvell’s LTE solution will be used in ZTE’s
first dual radio dual standby LTE smartphone demonstration. Marvell’s
LTE platform will support both TD-SCDMA and dual-radio dual standby LTE
voice solution, in addition to a Circuit Switched Fallback (CSFB) voice
qaud-core AP is good to have. But backward compatibility with GSM/EDGE is critical, because, while high-speed data is a trend, voice feature with extensive coverage, which is only provided by GSM at least a few years ahead, is mandatory for populations over there.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.