Global Sources
EE Times-Asia
Stay in touch with EE Times Asia
EE Times-Asia > RF/Microwave

Ever elusive LTE design wins continue to plague CES

Posted: 18 Jan 2013 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE base band chips? 3G market? Tegra 4 SoC? Krait 400 CPU? Snapdragon 8000?

LTE base band chips from various chip companies have been in development for more than a year. So far, companies such as ST-Ericsson, Renesas Mobile, NVidia and Marvell have little to show for it. All claim they already have their modem chips on the tarmac. But that's it, no takeoff. Not a peep about actual design wins. Last week's CES was no exception. We heard zilch. How come?

We can certainly blame the virtually non-existent LTE market for that. Except in the U.S., the roll out of LTE has been slow. If you want volume for your modem chips, you need to play not in LTE but the 3G market dominated by Qualcomm, MediaTek, Spreadtrum, Broadcom, Intel and others.

Additional blame goes to Samsung and Apple. The two companies have pretty much sewn up the high-end smartphone market. Samsung designs its own LTE base band chips while Apple uses Qualcomm's chips. Not much room is left for anyone else.

But the real story lies in the very nature of a base band chip, which we in the media apparently don't appreciate very much.

Developing a functional base band chip is a never-ending job, according to CEVA CEO Gideon Wertheizer. When it comes to apps processors, chip suppliers know their job is done. It happens when they see tape out. In contrast, base band chips, after tape-out, need to be tweaked, tested, modified, certified and or again before they can move to mass production.

Wertheizer said, "I've heard that you'd need to dispatch something like 400 engineers to Samsung in order to have your chip tested in their handsets, certified by different operators and tweaked to work well on different bands, and finally getting designed in."

Come on. Four hundred? Really?

1???2?Next Page?Last Page

Article Comments - Ever elusive LTE design wins continu...
*? You can enter [0] more charecters.
*Verify code:


Visit Asia Webinars to learn about the latest in technology and get practical design tips.

Back to Top