Monday, June 28, 2010

#IBM, WiSpry Team on Tunable #RF #MEMS to #Downsize #Mobile #Handsets

Micro-electro-mechanical system (MEMS) radio-frequency (RF) chips to enable ring-sized cell phones thanks to collaboration between IBM and startup WiSpry. Look for smaller, cheaper, longer batter lived mobile handsets by Christmas. R.C.J.

The dream of a MEMS system-on-a-chip RF front-end for wireless mobile handsets is being realized by the collaborative efforts of startup WiSpry and IBM Microelectronics. Fabless MEMS chip company WiSpry Inc. (Irvine, Calif.) has inked a joint development deal with IBM Microelectronics under which IBM will manufacture its single-chip tunable radio frequency (RF) front-ends for mobile handsets, which both companies will market to tier-one original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). The first of these customers is due to be before the end of 2010. The key to WiSpry's competitive advantage is its tunable impedance matching MEMS technology that uses arrays of switchable capacitive devices that can be quickly switched in and out to quickly provide over 3-dB of link resilience by adapting to changes in frequency, antenna conditions (such as being touched by the user) and other ongoing operational conditions, thereby preventing dropped calls and improving realtime performance — more "bars" on the cell phone display. Today's 3G multi-mode, multi-band mobile wireless devices and tomorrow's 4G LTE terminals and infrastructure equipment both require dozens of internal RF front-end components, only a few of which are used for any one time. By going to a single tunable RF front-end, many of these redundant components can be eliminated, enabling a drastically smaller form factor as well as reducing the bill-of-materials for devices.
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