CMOS gains more RF transceiver sockets in mobile phones
CMOS process technology is enjoying increasing use in RF transceiver chips of mobile phones and by 2009 will be employed in 40% of wireless handsets shipped, iSuppli Corp. predicts. Mobile phones presently make use of RF transceiver chips based on relatively expensive processes, with silicon germanium (SiGe) BiCMOS dominating the market and silicon BiCMOS retaining a small share of sales. However, CMOS processes technology is beginning to make inroads into the market.
With low cost and low power advantages of CMOS, designers are implementing the RF function in CMOS as well as exploring integration of baseband and RF functions. Lower part costs combined with higher integration will allow RF CMOS to help drive down mobile-phone average selling prices (ASPs) in the coming years, iSuppli predicts.
RF CMOS started its penetration with low-end GSM phones and has worked its way into high-end GSM handsets. Silicon Laboratories was the first to release an RF CMOS transceiver for GSM in 2001. However, other companies since have released RF CMOS products, including Berkana Wireless, Infineon and Qualcomm. With the support of Qualcomm, RF CMOS is expected to make major inroads into the CDMA market. Penetration of RF CMOS transceivers mobile phones is expected to rise to 40% by 2009, up from just 13% in 2004, iSuppli forecasts.
According to iSuppli, the overall market for RF components used in mobile handsets is expected to grow to $7 billion in 2009, up from $6.6 billion in 2004. Other factors driving down phone costs and increasing their integration include the rising use of zero IF (ZIF) architectures, power amplifier modules (PAMs) and antenna switch modules (ASMs), stated iSuppli.
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