Freescale's CMOS 90nm-based RF Subsystems Revolutionize Mobile Industry

In the mobile phone industry where time to market is critical, Freescale Semiconductor (NYSE:FSL) (NYSE:FSL.B) has developed a programming method that significantly reduces time to first call when developing new phones. Based on direct customer feedback, the time to first call is reduced as much as 66%. Freescale’s programming method uses single-command programming that reduces calibration steps and practically guarantees system compliance.

“This is just one of the reasons our RF technology has been designed into some of the hottest devices on the market today,” said Klaus Buehring, vice president and general manager of Freescale’s Radio Products Division (RPD). “Our products that incorporate innovative design techniques like smart RF, have leading OEMs bringing phones to market more quickly and efficiently.”

The RFX275-20 RF subsystem was the first chipset to begin to using this programming technique, but newer generations sampling soon are engineered to go even further in simplifying the layer-one programming.

Revolutionary Programming Approach
In traditional programming of the baseband to control the RF transceiver, an engineer would need to consider all the critical timing between the transceiver, power amplifiers, switches, low noise amplifiers, baseband processor and voltage regulators. The digital baseband must perform many calibrations to control a transceiver and the detailed timing of all transceiver functions. This interaction results in significant time investment to complete phone development successfully.

With Freescale’s revolutionary approach, an engineer enters a single command stating the desired channel and power level. This command sets the parameters and times the events such that system compliance is virtually assured.

“Through embedding RF intelligence into the transceiver we have witnessed unprecedented shortening of time to first call,” said Kent Heath, director of cellular operations for RPD. “Achieving time-to-first-call status in less time and fewer resources is possible today primarily because we are taking generations of RF experience and embedding that knowledge into the transceiver.”

3G RF Subsystem Features
Freescale’s RFX300-20 RF subsystem offers a 3G WCDMA/EDGE solution with one of the industry’s smallest footprints. The RF chipset integrates the analog baseband, RF transmitter, RF receiver, power amplifier, power control and many traditionally passive components into four manufacturing-friendly packages. Designed to receive and transmit voice and data for dual-mode 3G handsets, the RFX300-20 is comprised of the following components:

  • MMM6007: Tri-band WCDMA transceiver with digital interface
  • MMM6032: WCDMA power amplifier module with power detection
  • MMM6000: Quad-band GSM/EDGE transceiver with DigRF interface
  • MMM6029: GSM/EDGE power amplifier module with power control

EDGE RF Subsystem Features
Freescale’s EDGE RF subsystem, the RFX275-20, consists of the MMM6000 transceiver, which integrates the analog baseband and contains a DigRF interface and MMM6027 power amplifier that includes the antenna switch and most passive components.

EDGE is an enhancement of previous GSM networks to triple the data speeds for multimedia and Internet access. Higher data rates are ideal for feature phones, smart phones, PDAs, PC cards and wireless modules.

Product Availability
The RFX275-20 front-end subsystem for EDGE handsets is available today. Freescale’s RFX300-20 fourth generation WCDMA/EDGE subsystem is also available. A CMOS 90nm-based 2G+3G transceiver and subsystem with simplified programming is sampling today.

About Freescale Semiconductor
Freescale Semiconductor, Inc. (NYSE:FSL) (NYSE:FSL.B) is a global leader in the design and manufacture of embedded semiconductors for the automotive, consumer, industrial, networking and wireless markets. Freescale became a publicly traded company in July 2004. The company is based in Austin, Texas, and has design, research and development, manufacturing or sales operations in more than 30 countries. Freescale, a member of the S&P 500(R), is one of the world’s largest semiconductor companies with 2005 sales of $5.8 billion (USD).

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