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Fuel cells won't power phones

Posted: 16 Jun 2006 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:Jean-Pierre Joosting? fuel cells? cellphones?

As more functions are embedded in cellphones, the communications industry faces a power consumption problem--and it can't be solved by fuel cells or other battery alternatives, according to Yrjo Neuvo, formerly executive VP and CTO for Nokia Mobile Phones, and a current technology adviser to that company.

Speaking at the recent International Electronics Forum, Neuvo said smart phones are leveraging multicore architectures to get the performance they need. Fuel cells are not an option for powering the new platforms, however, since a cellphone cannot consume more than 3W to 6W without requiring active cooling.

Thus, Neuvo said, better system and IC design must be the way forward. The challenges include developing processors that are an order of magnitude more power-efficient than today's models, dissipating 100W per MIPS rather than today's 1mW/MIPS.

At the same time, RF integration is facing a discontinuity as the relative silicon area devoted to analog and digital blocks continues to shrink. Neuvo said he expects the advent of software-defined radio to aggravate the trend.

Neuvo further predicted that the maturation of the semiconductor industry will lead to an era of competitive re-aggregation. That trend will increase the importance of collaborative work among research organizations, academia and industry, such as the European Union's Artemis collaborative research program in embedded computing.

- Jean-Pierre Joosting
Microwave Engineering Europe

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