LONDON Analog Devices, Inc. has started sampling Tier 1 mobile handset makers and local ODMs with a second-generation chipset that complies with the Chinese 3G TD-SCDMA Low Chip Rate (LCR) air interface.
Dubbed the SoftFone-LCR+, the part will be in volume production by the end of the first quarter 2007, and according to Jorgen Krogh, business development director, mobile network operators, at ADI, handsets using the chipset should be available soon after that.
"In China, it is no longer a question of if, but when for 3G based on TD-SCDMA. Admittedly, we have been waiting a long time for the government to issue licenses for networks throughout the country, but trials are proceeding well and data rates using TD-SCDMA have now reached speeds of up to 384 kbit/s in real-world conditions," said Krogh. "Now the handset makers have to ensure there are sufficient phones out there, both for those that want just voice-centric models and to meet the demand for those that opt for multimedia versions," Krogh told EE Times Europe .
ADI already supplies its chips in conjunction with software from its local partner, Datang Mobile, for at least 5 of the models used on the various trials using TD-SCDMA technology, including those from ZTE Corporation, Holley Communications and Inventec, as well as those from design houses Longcheer and Simcom.
Krogh said the main European suppliers, such as Nokia, need to look seriously at this emerging market, but would not say which if any of the European suppliers or designers are considering using its SoftFone-LCR+ chipset.
The SoftFone-LCR+ chipset enables dual-mode TD-SCDMA/GPRS operation and achieves full 384 kbit/s 3G performance, enabling faster download speeds, video streaming, video telephony and Web browsing capabilities—critical requirements in supporting the migration to 3G wireless networks in China.
The part uses ARM9 cores, rather than ARM7 as in earlier versions, and what Krogh terms the industry's highest performance RF transceiver, the Othello-W, which offers the lowest call drop rates and best sensitivity available.
The five-chip solution is based on the AD6903 digital baseband processor that utilizes the company’s Blackfin processor achieving 260 MHz.
The part provides support for enhanced multimedia functions such as 3 megapixel cameras, USB, multi-format audio encode/decode, as well as advanced video capture and playback, and stereo audio codecs. The chipset supports video algorithms such as MPEG4, H.263 and H.264 for screen sizes up to QVGA; stereo audio codecs including MP3, AAC+, WMA and others; and it offers 128-voice MIDI ringtones – all handled in software.