[May 21, 2001]
IBM, Mitsubishi Electric Develop Low-Power Chips
For Next-Gen Cell Phones
IBM announced a technology
agreement with Mitsubishi
Electric Corporation intended to accelerate the introduction of
high-performance, low-power microchips for third-generation (3G) cellular
Under the multi-year joint development agreement, IBM and Mitsubishi
Electric are designing radio frequency integrated circuit (RFIC) chipsets
for 3G wireless handsets. The highly-integrated chipsets will be based on
Mitsubishi Electric's cellular circuit and system expertise, and
manufactured by IBM using its industry-leading silicon germanium (SiGe)
communications chip technology. Mitsubishi Electric intends to incorporate
the 3G RFICs into its next-generation cellular products.
"Unprecedented demand for increased performance and functionality
from wireless communications products is outstripping the capabilities of
conventional semiconductor technologies," said Dr. Gary Patton,
director of wireless business for IBM Microelectronics. "Our work
with Mitsubishi can help speed the introduction of advanced 3G phones
fueled by complex chips built with IBM's unique SiGe technology."
The new SiGe chipsets IBM and Mitsubishi Electric are developing
include 3G receiver and transmitter parts optimized to efficiently manage
high frequency signals while reducing power consumption and overall system
cost through high-levels of integration.
Designing 3G RFICs with IBM's SiGe technology allows Mitsubishi
Electric to combine multiple chips into complex, integrated parts
significantly reducing the number of chips required by its 3G handsets. In
addition, IBM's SiGe technology is expected to help the 3G chipsets
consume less power, compared to competitive manufacturing technologies,
thereby extending cell phone battery life and talk time.
"Mitsubishi Electric is pleased to be collaborating with IBM to
develop and introduce a compelling leadership solution for the emerging 3G
cellular market," said Dr. Kenji Itoh, section manager,
Next-Generation Radio Terminal Development Department of Mitsubishi
Electric Corporation. "We believe that our 3G handsets will be very
competitive due to the unique low-power and high-performance attributes of
Mitsubishi Electric?s circuit and system technologies and IBM's mature
SiGe communications technology."
Existing cellular networks are quickly becoming overwhelmed and vendors
like Mitsubishi Electric are rapidly developing phones to operate on the
forthcoming 3G wireless protocol which will accommodate many new users.
IBM's SiGe is uniquely optimized to power complex chips designed to
deliver the high frequency performance next-generation cell phones need to
operate across the expanded 3G communications spectrum.
Additionally, wireless networks are rapidly evolving from solely voice
(or data) communications to an integrated voice/data model. Consequently,
next-generation wireless products must handle not only voice
communications, but many other advanced features such as e-mail, video
conferencing, and Internet access. IBM's SiGe technology can help
Mitsubishi Electric meet this goal by enabling circuit designers to
incorporate unmatched levels of logic and functions onto a single,
high-performance communications chip.
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