McGregor suggested new handset chips will need new processes for lower power and networking chips—some now exceeding four billion transistors--will need it for density. “The chips we chose to go into these processes will drive margins so the ROI is high,” he said.
Broadcom continues to invest in cellular baseband technology to roll out its first LTE chips in 2013 and eventually integrated apps processors. The investments come despite heady competition from companies such as Qualcomm and McGregor’s belief industry growth in 2013 will be “muted.”
The company aims to expand from a per-handset market of $3-$6 for its combo Wi-Fi chips to a $10-$30 market that includes baseband and processing functions. “We have the opportunity to quintuple revenue per platform, so it’s an imperative to put together all the technologies in the smartphone,” including the processor SoC, power management unit and RF, he said.
“We believe the vast majority of all phones will integrate [basebands and apps processors] over time,” he added.
Bob Rango, general manager of Broadcom's mobile and wireless group, showed the company's first LTE baseband, sampling in 2013. The 28 nm chip supports Release 10 features such as voice over LTE and carrier aggregation as well as China's LTE-TDD while being 37 percent smaller than the baseband Apple uses in the iPhone 5.
In 3G, Rango said Samsung plans to roll out a series of handsets using Broadcom's 155 integrated dual-core SoC over the next few quarters, starting with the Galaxy SII+. He downplayed competition with Samsung's internal Exynos SoC and Qualcomm's move to integrate Wi-Fi and Bluetooth features into its SoCs.