eNewsletter – 2/18/2016

Qualcomm Intros World’s 1st Gigabit LTE Modem Last week, Qualcomm announced the first modem to support Gigabit LTE.  The X16 supports LTE-A Pro Category 16 downlink speeds of up to 1 Gbps and Category 13 uplink speeds of 150 Mbps. With the X16, Qualcomm sets the Gigabit modem benchmark, a significant milestone for the entire mobile industry paving the way to 5G.   My more detailed write-up on the new product is in EETimes here. CEVA Enables “X16”-Like Modems Quickly following the Qualcomm announcement, yesterday IP licensor CEVA, Inc. announced its new CEVA-X4 DSP+Control processor targeting high-end basebands for smartphones with the system control capability to manage the entire modem.  When combined with the CEVA-XC4500, the X4 is said to enable next-generation LTE-A Pro modems that can compete with Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon X16.  No doubt, we’ll see more LTE-A Pro modem solutions rollout this year…perhaps even next week at Mobile World Congress.       New Low-Power Memory for IoT Products   Adesto Technologies Corp. is shipping what it claims to be the world’s lowest-power non-volatile memory device. Adesto offers CBRAM® (Conductive Bridging RAM) which is billed as the 1st commercial Resistive RAM product. CBRAM forms and dissolves a conductive link between two electrodes. Unlike Flash, no pre-erase is required. It employs a CMOS-compatible 2-mask process and is said to offer lower energy than Flash. Additionally, CBRAM uses lower write voltages and faster write operations compared to Flash. The technology is available as Moneta™ discrete devices designed as companion chips for Ultra Low Energy IoT Systems. It is also available as Mavriq™ serial memory.  CBRAM is said to offer longer battery life with smaller batteries or even no batteries since it has the ability to power from an energy harvesting source. Adesto’s Target Battery Operations or Energy Harvesting Applications Beacons in retail stores Commercial building sensors (external memory for OTA for wireless sensor nodes) Home medical monitoring and other sterilized medical equipment Hazardous/remote locations sensors Bluetooth low energy devices (with/without OTA updates) Applications using harvested energy from environment (e.g. solar, thermal electric – body heat, electromagnetic, and vibration energy) Data logging applications MWC Looms Next Monday, tens of thousands of wireless engineers, programmers, and executives (and their entourages) will converge on Barcelona for the world’s biggest and most influential wireless event, Mobile World Congress ’16.  Of course hundreds of reporters and a few dozen industry analysts like me will also...

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eNewsletter – 1/26/2016

MWC’16 Next month, Mobile World Congress, the premier conference and exhibition of the wireless industry will again be in Barcelona (2/22-2/25). It promises to be the biggest yet.  Although focus will be on the big smartphone chip suppliers, the show is broadening beyond cellular to include multiple forms of connectivity, increasingly for automotive applications. Witness Here the mapmaker which was formerly part of Nokia—it’s now owned by German auto makers Audi, BMW and Daimler. But other transportation markets are still addressed. For example, last week Here announced that it has been chosen by the U.S. Census Bureau to provide high grade map content to enhance the agency’s comprehensive portfolio of geographic information. I’ve personally used Nokia/Here maps on my Nokia cellphones in a dozen or more countries and they were spot on except for missing a few small towns in central Turkey and the map of Syria was intentionally misleading (and I was probably the last American tourist to leave Syria). But, back to the show.  My personal MWC schedule is filling fast and should be full by the end of this week.  From a logistics standpoint the biggest change in Barcelona is the new Metro L9 stop beneath the Fira.  The L9 can take you there directly to/from the airport or to/from the Zona Universitaria station (which connects to my L3 line), bypassing Espanya and that long walk to the sardine-packed trains. Huawei tops Xiaomi to Become #1 China Smartphone Maker Huawei became the first Chinese smartphone maker to pass the 100 million mark in a given year.  The company’s 108 million devices shipped in 2015 marked a 44% increase over the prior, also posting a 70% revenue growth to $20 billion in 2015.  Xiaomi, its main China competitor, shipped 72 million last year. This is certainly good news for Cadence Design Systems, since multiple Tensilica DSP cores are in every Huawei smartphone.  The #2 Tensilica DSP modem client is Intel for their LTE modems (Intel’s 2G/3G modems are based on CEVA DSP cores). Enterprise Electronics Gets Interesting From my colleague Jonathan Goldberg of D/D Advisors “While the Consumer Electronics (CE) Market always gets more attention, for this analyst the CE market has become dull. By contrast the market for Enterprise Electronics (EE) is poised to see significant changes in its corporate makeup. Changing customer buying patterns (i.e. 20 webscale companies buying ~30% of the industry’s output) and...

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