Broadcom today announced a new single-chip HSPA (high-speed packet access) processor that integrates all of the key 3G (third generation) cellular and mobile technologies on an extremely low power, single 65 nanometer CMOS die. Broadcom’s new “3G Phone on a Chip” solution enables manufacturers to build next generation 3G HSUPA phones with breakthrough features, sleek form factors and very long battery life, all at a fraction of the cost of today’s solutions – driving widespread consumer adoption. Never before has anyone integrated as many radio devices on a single chip, which demonstrates Broadcom’s technology leadership in multi-modal CMOS RF technology.
Advancements in mobile phone designs, such as the proliferation of extensive Internet applications and web services, multimedia, high resolution video and still cameras, games and music, are driving a growing demand for faster cellular networks and an appetite for rich multimedia phones that can take advantage of them. HSUPA is often considered the ultimate cellular modem technology. There are already over 900 million subscribers in HSPA enabled networks today, and many network operators are planning massive worldwide deployment of HSUPA over the next several years.
Using phones enabled by the new Broadcom HSUPA processor, consumers will be able to download content at up to 7.2 Megabits per second (Mbps), and upload content such as pictures and videos at up to 5.8Mbps, all directly from their phone. HSUPA technology also holds the promise for much higher quality “live” video conferencing and an array of exciting services and applications.
Announced today is the BCM21551 3G “Phone on a Chip,” which combines a high-speed HSUPA 3G baseband, a multi-band radio frequency (RF) transceiver, Bluetooth(R) 2.1 with enhanced data rate (EDR) technology, an FM radio receiver and an FM radio transmitter (for car stereo music playback). The device also features advanced multimedia processing, up to five Megapixel camera support, and 30 frame per second video with “TV Out,” as well as support for the HSUPA, HSDPA, WCDMA and EDGE cellular protocols.
It can even be paired with other Broadcom devices, such as Wi-Fi and GPS, PMU, or the new VideoCore(R) III mobile multimedia processor. No competing cellular baseband chip has ever achieved this level of integration, which drives down cost, power and size, while enabling an advanced level of functionality. This makes the BCM21551 an ideal choice for both “mass market” high volume 3G “feature phones” as well as smartphones running an open OS such as Symbian, Windows Mobile, or Linux.
“Broadcom has already demonstrated commercial success with its EGPRS single-chip solution and multi-chip 3G solutions,” commented Michael Thelander, CEO and Founder of Signals Research Group, LLC, in the press release. “With this single chip solution, Broadcom is becoming a one-stop supplier of 3G/2G, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth silicon solutions and communications software, positioning it to leapfrog many of its competitors from both a technology and market share perspective.”
“With what we believe is more than a full year’s lead over similar competing products, this new 3G solution should place Broadcom squarely at the head of the hyper-competitive 3G chip race,” said Yossi Cohen, Senior Vice President and General Manager of Broadcom’s Mobile Platforms Group, in the press release. “We built upon the success of our single-chip EDGE solution and merely eight months later our engineers not only built a single chip HSUPA solution, but also integrated Bluetooth, FM radio, and the next level of multimedia. This is truly amazing engineering execution, a hallmark of Broadcom. Our investments in multi-modal CMOS RF and high definition multimedia technologies will further widen our mobile technology leadership in the coming years.”
Designed and manufactured on a single 65 nanometer silicon die, the BCM21551 is an innovative HSPA system-on-a-chip (SoC) that features unprecedented integration of advanced smartphone features. The BCM21551 integrates dual ARM11(TM) processors to provide open OS support, and features full stereo music capabilities for both headset and stereo speakers as well as an integrated 5-band graphic equalizer and digital mixing capabilities for superior audio performance. The BCM21551 also integrates advanced MIPI serial interfaces for the LCD and image sensor (which facilitates a low power interface for the BCM21551 and the LCD in the phone) and the analog physical layer required for the 480Mbps high speed USB2.0 applications that enable the rapid transfer of multimedia files to and from the handset.
The BCM21551 also incorporates Broadcom’s proprietary M-Stream and single antenna interference cancellation (SAIC) signal processing technologies designed to improve cellular handset reception and voice quality, ultimately resulting in fewer dropped calls.
The 65 nanometer (nm) process is the most advanced lithographic node for manufacturing semiconductors in large volumes today and provides significant benefits over 90 nm and 130 nm processes by enabling lower power consumption, smaller size and higher levels of integration. For Broadcom, the move to 65 nanometer process technology is changing the competitive landscape because of the breadth and depth of the communications intellectual property the company possesses. Without such a broad portfolio of market-leading solutions to integrate, competitors are not able to take full advantage of the benefits that these next-generation processes provide.
The BCM21551 also benefits from the company’s world class expertise and extensive experience in pure digital CMOS radio design, delivering the highest RF performance and lowest power consumption available. With a deep intellectual property portfolio and mature, field-proven RF technologies (with hundreds of millions of devices shipped to date that include radio functionality), Broadcom is well suited to apply its RF expertise to the cellular market. Breakthrough RF technology enables for the first time in the industry the removal of inter-stage filters. For a typical 3-band WCDMA phone, this results in extensive savings of 6 inter-stage filters, significantly reducing cost and board space.
The BCM21551 3G baseband processor is available now to early access customers and is priced at $23.00 in large quantities.
[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Macaday” for the heads up.]
MacDailyNews Take: Is this the chip for which Steve Jobs has been waiting?