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TriQuint heeds call for cellphone integration

Posted: 10 Jun 2002 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:handset design? cellphone components? monolithic integration? saw filters? triquint?

With consumers clamoring for cheaper, smaller cellular handsets with a longer battery life, integration is emerging as one of mobile phone makers' biggest engineering challenges. TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. is among the leading players driving integration at the component level, with its eye especially on fast-growing markets in Asia.

The Hillsboro, Oregon company supplies integrated systems to a handset market that has radically changed during the past two years. "Mobile phones started as a businessman's tool. But now it's a consumer electronics device, which brings us to new market realities: lower prices and more functionality," said Rupert Prince, marketing director of TriQuint's Wireless Communications Division.

Nearly every facet of the handset market is now cost-sensitive amid hyper competition in the GSM market. Almost every major cellphone maker, except Nokia, is losing money. As a result, Prince said the first thing engineers at OEMs must ask is, "How much it will cost?"

TriQuint's approach is to match all components on a chip monolithically instead of building a separate matching circuit. This monolithic-integration approach leads to fewer bump pads. Apart from building better matching circuits, shrinking die size is another design reality in cellphones.

Another crucial issue is expensive packaging. SAW filters must be housed in hermetic packages so both filters are on the same substrate. Ceramic packages are more expensive than the filter itself. The use of chip-scale packaging can help reduce costs by as much as 50 percent, the company estimates.

TriQuint is targeting the South Korean, Japanese and high-flying Chinese markets. In particular, the company is stepping up its business presence on the mainland, where its OEM customers include telecommunications heavyweights like Shenzhen-based ZTE Corp., China's largest listed telecom manufacturer.

In mainland China, TriQuint so far has a representative, which it also uses to subcontract assembly services.

? Majeed Ahmad Kamran

Electronic Engineering Times ? Asia

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