The silicon-rich Mitsubishi D-2101V wideband-CDMA phone suggests that the complexity-and therefore cost-of W-CDMA handsets will make it tough to achieve high-volume sales anytime soon. With 43 ICs, a total semiconductor die area of 14.6 cm2, 39 modules or odd-form components and more than 775 discrete components, the D-2101V is two to 10 times more complex than entry-level GSM phones. Correspondingly, cost-of-goods-sold estimates for the D-2101V exceed $250-well beyond both GSM and cdma2000 handset counterparts.
The Mitsubishi phone, officially launched last March, is a continuation of the NTT Docomo 3G Foma handset line. It is housed in a slightly oversized enclosure, offers a large 132 x 162-pixel color LCD and includes the increasingly de rigueur embedded camera. The camera uses a switchable lens/prism apparatus to support two viewing angles, enabling both "talking head" videoconferencing and still/video capture. To ship all this multimedia data around, the phone supports Docomo's i-Motion video-clip and music transmission service with a claimed maximum downlink speed of 384 kbits/second and maximum uplink speed of 64 kbits/s.
Most circuitry is contained on a single high-density circuit board; three subsidiary boards handle display, keypad and headset interfaces. Overall, the main board supports five separate-and sizable-Mitsubishi ASICs spread across three packages. They appear to tackle all digital activity such as still-image capture, video processing, W-CDMA baseband, applications processing and power management.
Toshiba, Samsung and Mitsubishi supply an extensive array of memory devices, both SRAM and flash/SRAM stacked chips. A proprietary Analog Devices part and an IBM RF front-end IC constitute the major W-CDMA radio chips. A Rohm audio IC for polyphonic sound completes the major system-LSI content, while Linear Technology and Fairchild devices manage localized power conversion/regulation.
One of the more interesting components is the Mitsubishi baseband/ applications processor, consisting of two high-pin-count dice, each adhesive flip-chip bonded on opposing sides of a six-layer build-up BGA package substrate.
While this handset appears to be designed with an eye on time-to-market over integration, expect substantial improvements in cost/complexity from all manufacturers that plan to stay in the W-CDMA handset race. The future may be here, but it isn't yet cheap. Indeed, cdma2000 successes have thus far stolen much of W-CDMA-based Foma's thunder in Japan.
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DAVID CAREY IS PRESIDENT OF PORTELLIGENT (WWW.TEARDOWN.COM). THE AUSTIN, TEXAS, COMPANY PRODUCES TEARDOWN REPORTS AND RELATED RESEARCH ON WIRELESS, MOBILE AND PERSONAL ELECTRONICS SYSTEMS.