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Low-power sensor boosts Storm's imaging quality

Posted: 18 Dec 2009 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:touch interface? image sensor? power amplifier? Blackberry Storm teardown?

Making a world phone
The power amplifier in the Storm is a W-CDMA HSPA UMTS model, the AWT6241, from Anadigics. The device provides the amplification for the phone's 3G mode. This particular model is a world phone that runs on Verizon's CDMA network in the United States. It enters roaming mode while in Europe, taking advantage of a GSM/Edge power amplifier.

RIM chose the AWT6241 because of its high efficiency and high output power. The device is part of Anadigics' third-generation High-Efficiency, Low-Power (HELP3) product line. Its real claim to fame is its low quiescent current and the high efficiency at backed-off power. The result is a longer battery life, which is essential in a device like that Storm that contains a touch screen, a web browser, an e-mail client, and lots of other bells and whistles.

"For the IMT band, the 6241 is compatible with the Qualcomm chipset which is really the heart and soul of the Storm," says Bruce Webber, director of marketing for Anadigics' wireless products. "Sometime next year, we'll have our fourth generation HELP parts, which offer even further improvements in efficiency and quiescent current."

Note that in the design of a handset, there are some shortcuts you can take, and others you should avoid. Handsets are obviously space-constrained, and designers would prefer to use a single-sided board rather than a double-sided board.

The Blackberry Storm employs a W-CDMA HSPA UMTS power amplifier, the AWT6241 from Anadigics that allows that phone to be used in most regions throughout the world.

Webber says, "One of the things we've seen is that the continuing drive to reduce board area and BOM costs is causing people to leave out matching components. They'll try to do a one- or two-component match and sometimes that's not ideal. You need to leave yourself enough flexibility to match the power amp to the duplexer that's selected for best power output efficiency. Otherwise you can end up having problems with linearity or even oscillation under some circumstances."

Anadigics provides reference designs for many of its parts. And the company is quick to point out that designers shouldn't get too hung up on saving components at the expense of good matching between the components and the RF subsystem. Because that's where you can achieve the high efficiency, good linearity, and low spurious emissions, while simultaneously resulting in good RF performance.

"The end user might not be aware of all the stuff that goes on inside, but they certainly know when a call gets dropped," adds Webber.

- Richard Nass

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