Qualcomm Technologies introduced on Thursday the Qualcomm RF360 Front End Solution, a family of chips designed to address cellular radio frequency band fragmentation by supporting all seven cellular modes on mobile devices. It also reduces the RF front end footprint inside a smartphone by up to 50-percent, and reduces design complexity and development costs.
"Band fragmentation is the biggest obstacle to designing today's global LTE devices, with 40 cellular radio bands worldwide," the company said. "The Qualcomm RF front end solution comprises a family of chips designed to mitigate this problem while improving RF performance and helping OEMs more easily develop multiband, multimode mobile devices supporting LTE-FDD, LTE-TDD, WCDMA, EV-DO, CDMA 1x, TD-SCDMA and GSM/EDGE."
According to Qualcomm, the RF360 chipsets include the industry's first envelope power tracker for 3G/4G LTE mobile devices, a dynamic antenna matching tuner, an integrated power amplifier-antenna switch, and a 3D-RF packaging solution incorporating key front end components. This solution is designed to work seamlessly, reduce power consumption and improve radio performance.
The news arrives after Qualcomm introduced the Snapdragon 400 and 200 SoCs earlier this week. The former chip is more robust, offered as both dual-core and quad-core chips across nine variants, and includes the Adreno 305 GPU, enabling 3D gaming, highly responsive user interfaces and fast web browsing. The Snapdragon 200 SoC is designed to deliver a balance of value and performance, offered only as a quad-core chip across two variants.
Qualcomm said that by combining the new RF front end chipsets with its Snapdragon SoCs and Gobi LTE modems, Qualcomm Technologies can supply OEMs with a comprehensive, optimized, system-level LTE solution that is "truly global". OEM products featuring the complete Qualcomm RF360 Solution are anticipated to be launched in the second half of 2013, the company said.
"The wide range of radio frequencies used to implement 2G, 3G and 4G LTE networks globally presents an ongoing challenge for mobile device designers. Where 2G and 3G technologies each have been implemented on four to five different RF bands globally, the inclusion of LTE brings the total number of cellular bands to approximately 40," said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president of product management, Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. "Our new RF devices are tightly integrated and will allow us the flexibility and scalability to supply OEMs of all types, from those requiring only a region-specific LTE solution, to those needing LTE global roaming support."
Qualcomm also revealed on Thursday a new RF transceiver chip called the WTR1625L. It's the first in the industry to support carrier aggregation with a "significant" expansion in the number of active RF bands. This transceiver, along with the RF360 chipsets, is part of Qualcomm's single-SKU World Mode LTE solution for mobile devices that are expected to launch this year.