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consumer electronics: Optical Proximity Sensors wireless communications: RF Power Measurement portable power: Energy Harvesting technology focus: Touchscreens

August 2008

www.portabledesign.com

An RTC Group Publication

CEO Interview: Dan McCranie, Virage Logic


contents departments

editorial letter dave’s two cents industry news analysts’ pages product feature products for designers

Vbat

5 6 8 12 42 44

BelaSigna 300 Input Stage Preamplifier

cover feature

DSPs vs. FPGAs: Is There a 16 Superior Choice for Portable Design

David Coode, ON Semiconductor

Choosing the Right Central Logic 20 Device for Your Product Design

Microphone Microphone Or...

RF Power Measurement Techniques 24 for Portable Systems Vladimir Dvorkin, Andy Mo and James Wong Linear Technology Corporation

Configurable Accelerator

A/D

Audio Inputs

A/D

On-Chip Peripherals Watchdog Timer

16 DSPs vs. FPGAs Power Management VCC 2.7V to 6V

Andreas Vogler, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors

portable power

Vibration Energy Endows Ambient 34 Intelligence in Sensor Networks

Dan Shepard, AdaptivEnergy

technology focus

Shared Memory

General-purpose Timer

... ...

Battery Monitor

Interrupt Controller

Clock Management

Power-On-Reset

IP Protection

CFX 24-bit DSP

C2 100pF

GND

1

VCC

RFIN

VOUT R2 10k

3

VOUT

GND

VM

VOS

24 RF power management

R3 10k THINFILM DIES: LED WITH INTEGRATED MIRROR

1 2 3 4

1 2

3

LED Layers Structuring Metal Reflector Substrate

4

30 proximity sensors

The Evolution of Touchscreens in 38 Portable Consumer Electronics

Darrin Vallis, Cypress Semiconductor

ceo interview

Dan McCranie 52

Virage Logic

6

LTC5532EDC 2

consumer electronics

Use of Integrated Optical Proximity 30 Sensors in Multi-Function Smart Phones

HEAR

A/D

Amit Kapadiya, Nuvation

wireless communications

PCM/I S Interface

A/D

Microphone

External Clock

2

IOC

Down-Sampling

MUX Bank

38 touchscreens

AUGUST 2008

3

5

4

C 1.


team editorial team

Editorial Director Editor-in-Chief Managing Editor Copy Editor

Creative Director Art Director Graphic Designer Director of Web Development Web Developer

Intern

Warren Andrews, warrena@rtcgroup.com John Donovan, johnd@rtcgroup.com Marina Tringali, marinat@rtcgroup.com Rochelle Cohn

art and media team

HiFi22 XtensaHiFi PowerXtensa LowPower Low Audio DSP Core for SOCs

Andrew Fuller, andrewf@rtcgroup.com

management team

• Runs over 30 audio and speech encoders and decoders – available today • Runs audio and control on same processor • Optimized for long battery life • 5.7 MHz MP3 decode helps make 100-hour playback possible

Sound good? Call us for a demo, 408-986-8000. Download a free white paper: www.tensilica.com/audiowhitepaper.pdf

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portable design advisory council Ravi Ambatipudi, National Semiconductor Dave Heacock, Texas Instruments Kazuyoshi Yamada, NEC America

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Tensilica Inc. 3255-6 Scott Blvd. Santa Clara, CA 95054 Tel: 408-986-8000 Fax: 408-986-8919 www.tensilica.com Email: toni@tensilica.com

Untitled-2 4 1 PORTABLE DESIGN

Jason Van Dorn, jasonv@rtcgroup.com Kirsten T. Wyatt, kirstenw@rtcgroup.com Christopher Saucier, chriss@rtcgroup.com Marke Hallowell, markeh@rtcgroup.com James Wagner, jamesw@rtcgroup.com

7/30/08 4:20:05 PM

Published by the RTC Group. Copyright 2008, the RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of the RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders. Periodicals postage at San Clemente, CA 92673 and at additional mailing offices. Postmaster: send changes of address to: Portable Design, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Portable Design(ISSN 1086-1300) is published monthly by RTC Group 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Telephone 949-226-2000; 949-226-2050; Web Address www.rtcgroup.com.


editorial letter

L

Last year was a tipping point for the wireless world: for the first time there were more cellular subscribers worldwide than wired ones. There was plenty of overlap, to be sure, but it’s still a significant event: there are now more cell phones than landlines. With one billion handsets sold in 2007 alone—and the industry on target to sell 1.3 billion in 2008—that gap can only widen. Part of the explanation is geographic: the largest growth markets for handsets are increasingly affluent China and India, where many people are going right from no phone to a cell phone—or two. Without an extensive wireline infrastructure to expensively upgrade, these countries can leapfrog right to the latest technologies, which they’re rapidly doing. Huge potential markets in developing counties have handset makers falling over themselves to develop the “$30 handset,” in the process bringing manufacturing costs down for the benefit of all of us. But the real surprise is that the big seller in China isn’t the low-cost, stripped-down phone—it’s the high-end phone with camera, Web browsing and all the latest bells and whistles. It seems that everyone wants more and more features—for less and less money. The huge demand for feature-rich handsets is driving innovation as well as profits. It’s also altering the face of the electronics and semiconductor industries. The $120 billion handset market is the money play, and everyone is repositioning themselves to play in it. In-Stat predicts the cellular market will exceed $165 billion by 2012. The Tier One handset makers—Nokia, Samsung, Motorola, LG and Sony Ericsson—between them control over 80% of a market that is growing at 13% per year (ABI Research). The ecosystems surrounding each of these companies are expanding daily, and consolidation is proceeding apace. Whatever else happens, engineers with RF experience can pretty much write their own tickets. One little-mentioned side effect of the explosion of cell phones is that consumers now expect everything to be wireless. Bluetooth headsets have become commonplace, and Wi-Fi-capable phones are starting to appear. Wireless USB is finally starting to replace cables between your computer, video camera, printer and a host of other devices. UWB enables you to stream video between your computer and the various TVs in your house;

with the inclusion of UWB into the Bluetooth protocol—the “high-speed channel”—soon you can do the same from your cell phone. NFC-equipped phones enable you to buy burgers at McDonald’s, read about pictures at museums and buy tickets at basketball games. GPS in cell phones not only helps keep you from getting lost, the technology opens up a whole range of “location-based services,” including helping you find the nearest Chinese take-out…should you tire of Mickey D’s.

The Wireless Revolution john donovan, editor-in-chief

Cars—one of the largest “portable” designs—are leading the wireless charge. Even modestly priced new cars are starting to come standard with wireless automatic tire pressure sensors—as I discovered to my delight recently when I picked up a nail and developed a slow leak. Bluetooth-based telematics let you talk hands-free on your phone as well as play tunes from your iPod over the car stereo. Collision-avoidance radars keep you safe at any speed, while automakers are working on wireless schemes to let your car share information with nearby cars so they can coordinate defensive actions. (What happens if they collectively decide that their drivers are just too dumb to be trusted?) Wireless technologies not only make a lot of our daily chores easier, they also make possible a lot of clever new devices. You can buy a GPS-based “child finder” that will alert you when your little one wanders away in a crowded store; an alarm goes off in your phone, and you immediately see a map that shows where to look for her. There’s also a version for wandering pets, another for wandering cars—the latter equipped with a wireless ignition kill switch. The wireless revolution has only just begun.

AUGUST 2008

5


dave’s two cents

L

Engineers are usually drawn to any documents where the titles have words that end in “est.” There is just something about claiming the best, fastest, smallest or highest that compels us to investigate the truth. Marketing people who develop ads for our audience know this very well, so they will usually put these “est” words in large print at the top of the ad just to pull us in. Well, okay, in my case it works. I am just glad that people sending e-mails haven’t started using this strategy in the subject line just to get me to read the e-mail.

dave’s two cents on...

The “Digital-Dumb” Generation Recently, I came across a review of a book titled, “The Dumbest Generation,” by Mark Bauerlein. At first I was going to pass this by, even though it used an “est” word because I thought it might be about my generation. Then I read the subtitle, “How the Digital Age Stupefies Young Americans and Jeopardizes Our Future.” So it is not about me, but people I care about even more—my children. This book is a very good collection of test findings measuring various academic performances, cultural awareness, and recreation habits of the Y generation, aka, Millennium Generation. The book introduces the frantic pace of the high school achiever group, spending the hours between school studying, personal training, volunteering, and barely fitting in sleep. It pretty much presents a miserable life. But it turns out that this is a small percentage of this generation. Most of these young Americans spend one hour or less per week studying. As a point of reference, a representative group of college professors suggested studying 25 hours per week in undergraduate school. The author has a complete chapter dedicated to screen time. This is the time a person would spend in front of a screen per day, not including 6

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class or work time. It turns out that today’s 8 to 18 age group spends almost six hours per day in screen time. Television accounts for more than half. The author’s point is that this amount of screen time does not allow much for reading books or cultural development. At the same time, it seems that the IQ of this generation is increasing—even more when you measure using previous IQ tests. For example, it is pointed out that if the 1932 IQ test was given in 1997, the average score would be 120. If you could give the 1997 IQ test to the 1932 population, the average score would be 80. I guess the 1932 population may have been smarter, but not as intelligent. So what does the “Digital Age” have to do with the “Dumbest Generation?” The author ties this generation’s rejection of printed media and reading experience with the replacement of digital media and virtual experience. When given a choice of playing today’s modern multimedia games or reading a book, the loser is the book. The term bibliophobia is used to describe the recreational rejection of books. The “Dumbest Generation” is the most electronically savvy generation to date. Fiftyeight percent of sixth- to twelfth-grade students have cell phones. They also own other portable electronics, 43% have digital still cameras, and 61% have portable game devices. Although they may not be reading the books in their backpacks, they are active participants in the digital age. This book presents some interesting information and ends with a call to action: Promote a more culturally aware and book-reading generation. For my two cents, he is missing the point. The “Digital Age” provides new tools to create culture in this generation. It may be the age of an author just sitting down in a cabin and writing the next great novel is coming to a close. The story will need to take advantage of more than just vocabulary to broaden the experience. For example, games like Civilization IV may be the answer to history and civics books. Just to make a point, I did download this book to a Kindle and read it. Come on “Digital Age” and save the trees!

by Dave Freeman, Texas Instruments


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news IEEE Launches Wireless Communication Engineering Certification Program

Quick: A mobile terminal moving at a speed of 30 m/sec is receiving a signal with a center frequency of 2 G, having a bandwidth of 5 MHz. The received signal has a delay spread of 2 µsec. The Doppler bandwidth of the received signal is approximately: (1) 200 Hz, (2) 400 Hz, (3) 0.5 MHz, or (4) 2.5 MHz? If that was easy, perhaps you should add a professional wireless certification to your credentials. The IEEE Communications Society (IEEE ComSoc) has launched a new Web site at www. ieee-wcet.org to provide detailed information, ongoing updates and free online resources highlighting the newly introduced Wireless Communication Engineering Technologies (IEEE WCET) Certification Program.

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coming weeks include a downloadable version of the Wireless Engineering Body of Knowledge (WEBOK) and an online practice exam. The WEBOK outlines the scope of wireless technologies and cites numerous wireless communication reference sources. The online practice exam consists of 75 questions reviewed by IEEE WCET subject matter experts and can help individuals gauge their level of preparedness prior to sitting for the actual exam. The first IEEE WCET testing period will extend from September 22 to October 10, 2008 with examinations held in testing centers around the world, including every state in the United States and in all Canadian provinces. The application deadline for this first testing period ends August 15, 2008. IEEE, New York, NY. (212) 419-7900. [www.ieee.org].

Dirk Meyer Replaces Hector Ruiz at AMD

er exploration ether your goal speak directly ical page, the ght resource. technology, es and products

Unveiled earlier this year, the IEEE WCET program was designed by IEEE ComSoc to aid ed the global wireless industry’s growing need for qualified communications professionals with practical experience and advanced problemsolving skills. It was also developed to help individuals qualify their expertise in wireless engineering and advance in their careers as companies providing solutions now new global opportunities arise. Additionally, exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touchthe withprogram the right resource. Whichever of may assist an level individual’s ability gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you areto searching make for. a switch into the wireless field from onnected other engineering areas. The IEEE WCET Web site clearly highlights program details and benefits to both industry and wireless professionals. It also will offer ongoing updates on eligibility requirements, testing dates and locations, application information including deadlines, examination specifications, links to training organizations and free resources such as a glossary, a list of references and sample questions for helping candidates thoroughly prepare for the exam. Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. Other resources that are planned for availwww.portabledesign.com/getconnected ability through the IEEE WCET Web site in the

End of Article

8

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AMD today announced that its board of directors elected President and COO Dirk Meyer as the company’s chief executive officer. Meyer succeeds Hector Ruiz, who will become executive chairman of AMD and chair of the board of directors. As executive chairman, Ruiz will ensure a smooth executive leadership transition, focus on driving the company’s asset smart strategy to completion, and assist with high-level government and strategic partner relations. The announcement coincides with AMD’s release of its most recent financial results. The company reported second quarter 2008 revenue from continuing operations of $1.349 billion, a seven percent decrease compared to the first quarter of 2008 and a three percent increase compared to the second quarter of 2007, resulting in a net loss of $1.189 billion, or $1.96 per share. Ruiz, 62, joined AMD as president and chief operating officer in January 2000 and became AMD’s chief executive officer on April 25, 2002. He has served on AMD’s board of directors since 2000 and was appointed chairman of the board of directors in 2004.


uct offerings for the digital consumer and wireless end-markets,” said Keith Jackson, ON Semiconductor president and CEO, in a statement.

Meyer, 46, joined AMD in 1995 and made his mark as part of the design team responsible for the original AMD Athlon processor, a breakthrough product for AMD and the industry’s first processor to break the 1 GHz barrier. From 2001 to 2006, Meyer led the company’s microprocessor business, overseeing related R&D, manufacturing, operations, and marketing. His leadership skills during those five years resulted in a doubling of revenue for the microprocessor business and a substantial expansion of AMD’s global profile. In 2006, Meyer was appointed president and COO, and in 2007, he was elected to AMD’s board of directors. AMD, Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 749-4000. [www.amd.com].

ON Semiconductor to Acquire Catalyst Semiconductor

ON Semiconductor Corporation and Catalyst Semiconductor, Inc. have announced the signing of a definitive merger agreement providing for the acquisition of Catalyst Semiconductor by ON Semiconductor in an allstock transaction valued at $115 million. The Catalyst acquisition follows not long on the heels of ON’s purchase of AMI Semiconductor and a voltage regulation product line from Analog Devices. All three acquisitions add significantly to ON Semi’s analog capabilities, which are key to the power management position they’ve staked out for themselves in the market. “The acquisition of Catalyst Semiconductor will add to our high gross margin analog and mixed-signal prod-

Under the terms of the agreement, which has been approved by both boards of directors, the fixed exchange ratio will be 0.706 shares of ON Semiconductor common stock for each share of Catalyst Semiconductor common stock. Based on the closing stock price of ON Semiconductor on July 16, 2008, this represents a value to Catalyst Semiconductor shareholders of approximately $6.24 per share. Upon completion of the transaction, ON Semiconductor will issue approximately 13 million shares of common stock on a fully diluted basis to complete the transaction or approximately 3 percent of ON Semiconductor’s fully diluted shares outstanding. The transaction is subject to the approval of shareholders of Catalyst Semiconductor as well as customary closing conditions and regulatory approvals. The companies expect the transaction to close in the fourth quarter of 2008. Upon closing, ON Semiconductor may record a one-time charge for purchased in-process research and development expenses and other deal related costs. ON Semiconductor, Phoenix, AZ. (602) 244-6600. [www.onsemi.com].

Peregrine Ships 300 Millionth UltraCMOS RFIC

Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation has announced that it has shipped its 300 millionth silicon-on-sapphire-based UltraCMOS RFIC.

The milestone was reached with an order for Peregrine’s PE42672 SP7T RF switches that are designed into RF transmit and front-end modules for cellular handsets supporting the WCDMA, HSPA, EDGE and GSM/GPRS networks, currently the fastest growing segment of the wireless market. The 3G mobile user demand for higher data rates is creating an unprecedented level of complexity in the RF front-end, and higher levels of integration are key to meeting customer requirements for exceptionally small form factors, cutting-edge features and quick timeto-market. Historically, pin-diodes and GaAsbased devices have held a dominant market position in the RF front end. However, as the demand for complex functionality in the front end has increased, designers have sought a path toward integration of digital functionality. UltraCMOS technology offers high-performance RF combined with digital control and an innovative flip-chip die for marked space and cost savings over competing technologies. Peregrine Semiconductor, San Diego, CA. (858) 731-9400. [www.psemi.com].

Qualcomm and IMEC Collaborate on 3D Integration Research

IMEC, Europe’s leading independent nanoelectronics research institute, and Qualcomm have announced that Qualcomm is the first fabless integrated circuit company to participate in IMEC’s industrial affiliation program (IIAP) on three-dimensional (3D) integration. Qualcomm and IMEC researchers in the program will collaborate to understand and develop solutions for the use of 3D technologies in future wireless products. “We are confident that strong industry collaboration among foundries, IDMs, packaging and assembly companies, and equipment suppliers at IMEC will push the development of innovative 3D products forward,” said Luc Van den hove, chief operation officer at IMEC. IMEC’s 3D integration program explores three dimensional technology and design for application in various domains. The technology research program focuses on 3D waferlevel packaging and 3D stacked-ICs to find AUGUST 2008

9


news environment.” Team Singapore’s project EMS is a low-cost, low-maintenance and self-sustainable autonomous environmental monitoring robotic system that is able

innovative solutions for the cost-effective use of 3D interconnects at different levels of the wiring hierarchy. The 3D system-on-chip design research program provides insights to its benefits, costs, challenges and solutions. The program will also include the development and demonstration of the IP and tools necessary for designing in three dimensions. Other partners in IMEC’s 3D integration program are Amkor, Infineon, Intel, Micron, NEC, NXP, Panasonic, Qimonda, Samsung, ST Microelectronics, Texas Instruments and TSMC.

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IMEC, Leuven, Belgium. +32 16 28 12 11. [www.imec.be].

Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA. (425) 882-8080. [www.microsoft.com].

Qualcomm Incorporated, San Diego, CA. (858) 587-1121. [www.qualcomm.com].

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Winners of Global Student Embedded Developer Competition Announced

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France

Microsoft

announced

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winner(s) of the exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet fromImagine a company, Cup 2008 Emmp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touchbedded with the right resource. Whichever level of Development competition. Imagine gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you areCup searching for. world’s premier student technolis the

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ogy competition, and one way Microsoft is encouraging young people to apply their imagination, their passion and their creativity to technology innovations that can make a difference in the world. Out of a field of 300 teams from 30 countries, team Singapore Trailblazers was recognized for their project, Environmental Monitoring System (EMS), by a panel of Microsoft and industry judges as having created the most innovative device that fit this year’s theme, “Imagine a world where technology enables a sustainable

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to provide high-quality environmental data in real time. The team was awarded $15,000 for their winning design. Tied for second place were the National University of Ireland, project Voila, and Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications, project AquaMarine. Poznan University of Technology, project Ecopteron took third place. These teams will also receive cash awards ranging from $10,000 to $5,000. More information is available at www. imaginecup.com.


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analysts’ pages 2008 Global Mobile Device Market Still on Course for 1.3 Billion Units Despite Economic Woes

In the second quarter of 2008, Tier One handset vendors enjoyed year-over-year unit shipment growth of between 15 and 22 percent. ABI Research estimates that 301 million units were shipped during the quarter and therefore reaffirms its forecast that the mobile device market will deliver 13% growth to take 2008 annual shipments to 1.3 billion units. “If there is an economic slowdown, no one bothered to tell the mobile device buying public,” says ABI Research vice president Jake Saunders. “In particular, consumers in emerging markets in Asia, the Middle East, Africa and South America shrugged off inflation fears to sign up as mobile phone users. These healthy gains in net subscriber additions are stimulating replacement and upgrade sales. In developed markets handset purchases tended to be flat, but those consumers who did purchase dug deeper and paid out more for coveted higher-end handsets and smart phones.”

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exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

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In terms of market share, Nokia has passed the 40% threshold for the first time (40.3%). Samsung secured second place with 15.2%, while Motorola barely managed to keep ahead of LG with its 9.3% versus LG’s 9.2%, and both edged out Sony Ericsson (8.3%).

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There is a distinct possibility that LG might overtake Motorola by the end of 3Q 2008, putting Motorola into fourth place. “There is admittedly turmoil in the global economy, but the mass market’s fascination with getting the latest and greatest handset shows no sign of abating,” commented research director Kevin Burden. Apple’s iPhone has rewritten the rulebook. Nevertheless, despite the expected successes that the Tier One handset vendors garnered in 1H 2008, Nokia’s overall market share is likely to hold, as it refreshed its portfolio in the mid-tier and high-end categories and has pretty much cornered the ultra-low-cost handset market. ABI Research, Oyster Bay, NY. (516) 624-2500. [www.abiresearch.com].

Seeking Mass Market Acceptance, Apple Stresses Cost Reduction for iPhone 3G

The new iPhone 3G sports an evolutionary design that favors cost reduction instead of cutting-edge features, supporting Apple Inc.’s goal of expanding its market share and achieving a worldwide presence for the product, according to a physical teardown analysis conducted by iSuppli Corp. iSuppli’s Teardown Analysis Service obtained an iPhone 3G and commenced a dissection in order to identify component suppliers, as well as to determine preliminary part and system costs. Per the teardown analysis and subsequent examinations by analysts, iSuppli has issued a preliminary estimate of $174.33 for initial production costs for the 8 Gbyte iPhone 3G. This figure consists only of the iPhone 3G’s combined Bill of Materials (BOM) and manufacturing expenses. The total doesn’t include other costs, including software development, shipping and distribution, packaging and miscellaneous accessories included with each phone. iSuppli’s cost estimate is nearly identical to the $173 BOM predicted in iSuppli’s virtual teardown issued to the public in late June.


Cost Considerations Rule in New iPhone

At $174.33, the BOM and manufacturing cost of the new iPhone is markedly less than the $227 that iSuppli estimated for the firstgeneration, 8 Gbyte 2G iPhone in June 2007. While using a new design, the iPhone 3G really represents a refinement of the original iPhone 2G, according to iSuppli. “The addition of 3G wireless capability represents an evolutionary design step for the iPhone, not a revolutionary one,” said Andrew Rassweiler, teardown services manager and principal analyst at iSuppli. “iSuppli believes Apple aimed for a more cost-effective design for the 3G iPhone compared to the 2G, in order to lower the retail price—which will allow the company to seed adoption and to capture maximum market share now—while the company still has buzz and a perceived differentiation relative to its competitors.” The iPhone 3G’s use of an Infineon Technologies AG baseband chip that supports the HSDPA, WCDMA and EDGE air standards, plus the integration of three separate TriQuint Semiconductor Inc. tri-band WCDMA Power Amplifier Modules (PAMs), reflects the fact that the iPhone 3G is suited for sale worldwide.

Infineon Takes Key Baseband Slot

The table presents iSuppli’s preliminary analysis of components and suppliers for the iPhone 3G, determined via physical teardown. iSuppli has conducted a teardown analysis of only one 3G iPhone. While there are variations in the components and suppliers for individual products, iSuppli believes that the vendors and parts identified in its teardown likely are representative of all iPhone 3Gs now being shipped—excluding certain memory devices and other commodity parts that are available from multiple sources. After iSuppli has completed an analysis of a larger sample of iPhones, we will issue further information to the public. Infineon AG was the big winner in the key baseband section of the iPhone 3G torn down by iSuppli, contributing its HSDPA/WCDMA/EDGE chip that includes dual ARM926 and ARM7 microprocessor cores.

Solely sourced items include Infineon’s baseband solution, RF transceiver and Global Positioning System (GPS) devices; Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd’s applications processor integrated with Synchronous DRAM (SDRAM); Marvell Technology Group Ltd.’s WLAN device and Cambridge Silicon Radio’s (CSR’s) Bluetooth chip. Multi-sourced items include Toshiba Corp.’s 8 Gbyte NAND flash memory chip. Apple’s other likely sources for this part include Samsung.

• T  he battery is not soldered into the iPhone 3G as it is done in the 2G, making it more serviceable. • Some chips have the Apple logo or are unmarked. Although iSuppli has been

Design Insights

Other observations made by iSuppli’s analysis team include: • T he redesigned internals of the iPhone 3G include only one large Printed Circuit Board (PCB) instead of the two nested PCBs found in the 2G version. The iPhone 3G uses a 10-layer board, compared to the less-expensive sixlayer PCBs commonly employed in mobile handsets. Component Suppliers for the iPhone 3G Based on Physical Teardown Analysis (July 2008) Supplier Name Source Unidentifiable Source Unidentifiable Toshiba Semiconductor Infineon Samsung Semiconductor Source Unidentifiable Micron Technology Murata Samsung Semiconductor Source Unidentifiable Infineon Numonyx Infineon Infineon NXP Semiconductors Broadcom Wolfson Microelectronics Skyworks ST Microelectronics TriQuint Semiconductor TriQuint Semiconductor TriQuint Semiconductor National Semiconductor Linear Technology Linear Technology Infineon Silicon Storage Technology Infineon Linear Technology Maxim

Component Description Display Touchscreen NAND Flash Memory, 8GByte Baseband - HSDPA/WCDMA/EDGE, Dual ARM926 & ARM7Core Application Processor Camera Module Image Sensor - 2 Megapixel - CMOS Contains Marvell 88W8686 WLAN + CSR BC6 ROM Bluetooth SDRAM - Mobile DDR, 1GBit Battery RF Transceiver - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE, Tri-Band 128Mbit NOR Flash + 64Mbit pSRAM GPS Receiver - Single Chip Power Management IC - Phone Power Management IC - Applications Processor Multitouch Controller Audio Codec Power Amplifier - Quad-Band GSM/EDGE Accelerometer - Microelectromechanical Power Amplifier Module (PAM) - WCDMA/HSUPA PAM - WCDMA/HSUPA PAM - WCDMA/HSUPA Mobile Pixel Link - 24-Bit RGB Display Interface Serializer Battery Charger - USB Compatible DC-DC Converter - Synchronous Boost Amplifier - LNA, Tri-Band HSDPA Flash - NOR, 8Mbit Amplifier - LNA, GPS Regulator - Switching Analog IC Total Bill of Materials and Manufacturing Cost: $174.33

AUGUST 2008

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analysts’ pages able to identify many of these parts and their true manufacturers by de-capping the chips and examining their dies, some devices remain unidentifiable at this time.

iPhone costs

Beyond the $174.33 BOM and manufacturing cost of the iPhone 3G, Apple is spending an estimated $50 on IP royalties per unit shipped. With the 8 Gbyte version retail priced at $199, and the estimated $300 subsidy paid by AT&T to Apple for each unit, Apple is selling the product at a price of $499, and spending $224.33 to produce each one. This gives Apple a BOM, manufacturing and royalty margin of 55 percent for each 8 Gbyte iPhone 3G unit sold. iSuppli Corporation, El Segundo, CA. (310) 524-4000. [www.isuppli.com].

nd

‘Mobile Video’ Increasingly Includes ‘Internet Video’ but Mobile Operators Can Fulfill Current Needs

er exploration ether your goal speak directly ical page, the ght resource. technology, es and products

In the past year, two forces have emerged to radically change the definition of “mobile video,” reports In-Stat. First, Internet delivery ed of user-generated and professionally produced content is moving viewers from their living rooms to their computers, the high-tech market research firm says. Second, high-quality mobile devices that use wireless networks (such as Apple’s Wi-Fi iPhone and iPod Touch) are companies providing solutions now improving mobilefrom access to the Internet in genexploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in toucheral. with As the right resource. Whichever level of increasingly a result, “Internet video” gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you aremeans searching for. “mobile video.” onnected In-Stat identified two potential models for mobile TV viewing: “waiting room” and “leisure time” with very different requirements. David Chamberlain, In-Stat analyst, points out, “Personal devices such as cell phones and personal media players are preferred for the waiting room scenario. However, if there is more time available, survey respondents preferred larger screens on products such mobile Internet devices or ultra-mobile PCs” Recent research by In-Stat found the Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. following: www.portabledesign.com/getconnected • Mobile operators offering both 3G and

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14

PORTABLE DESIGN

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out-of-band video content (such as MediaFLO, DVB-H or 1-Seg) have the near-term advantage, fulfilling both leisure time and waiting room usage models. • Over half of the respondents to an In-Stat U.S. consumer survey reported watching Internet video in the previous 30 days. • There is a strong preference for full-length shows rather than selected highlights tailored for mobile viewing. • U.S. survey respondents prefer monthly subscription fees to the purchase of video devices. In-Stat, Scottsdale, AZ. (480) 483-4440. [www.in-stat.com].

After Sluggish Debut, WUSB Prospects Looking Up

Wireless USB (WUSB) is currently hampered by the high price of the underlying UWB silicon, reports In-Stat. This is expected to limit its appeal until prices fall substantially, the high-tech market research firm says. Targeted at PCs, PC peripherals, consumer electronics (CE) and mobile phones, the first devices with WUSB technology shipped in 2007, including notebook PCs and hub and dongle solutions. “The beginnings of a new wireless ecosystem have launched, and should lead to increased shipments in the years ahead,” says Brian O’Rourke, In-Stat analyst. “Ultimately, UWB and WUSB will succeed because they solve problems that no other technology can; the ability to transmit large amounts of data from one device to another with relative power efficiency.” Recent research by In-Stat found the following: • J ust under 100,000 WUSB devices shipped in 2007, a total that will surpass 190 million in 2012. • C  ompetition will come from other WiMedia-based standards, as well as technologies such as Wi-Fi. • Notebook PCs will lead the adoption of WUSB. In-Stat, Scottsdale, AZ. (480) 483-4440. [www.in-stat.com].


Falling WiMAX Chipset Prices Spell Good News for Adoption of Smaller Mobile Devices

The WiMAX chipset market is advancing quickly. There are solid 2-chip designs consisting of a single-chip baseband IC and a singlechip RF IC that are bringing power consumption down. Beceem, GCT Semiconductor and Sequans have single-chip designs that include both the baseband and RF. Most importantly, WiMAX chipset ASPs are dropping rapidly. “Even as the mobile WiMAX chipset market has barely gotten its feet wet, chipset ASPs are declining rapidly due to heavy competition and greater integration in designs,” says ABI Research principal analyst Philip Solis. “Prices for the baseband and RF components of the chipset have come down from the $35 range a few years ago to below $25, and will drop below $10 in 2011. These falling WiMAX chipset prices are critical for inclusion of the technology in smaller mobile devices.” Even when global subscriber numbers reach the high tens of millions, ABI Research expects chipset shipments to be well into the hundreds of millions. Many devices will include WiMAX capabilities well before users subscribe to WiMAX-based service plans, and some consumers may never utilize the WiMAX capabilities included in their equipment, as more devices start to include other wireless wide-area network connectivity features. In

addition, some WiMAX subscribers will have multiple WiMAX-enabled devices on one subscription plan. “WiMAX will look a bit like Wi-Fi in terms of rapid ASP declines and moves towards 100% penetration in laptops,” continues Solis. “Expansion into various mobile devices including Mobile Internet Devices and consumer electronics will be critical to the growth of the WiMAX chipset market.” ABI Research, Oyster Bay, NY. (516) 624-2500. [www.abiresearch.com].

Study Examines MID Market

Forward Concepts has announced the publication of a new study that covers the market prospects of the emerging Mobile Internet Device (MID) that serves as a gap between high-end smart phones and ultra-portable PCs (UMPCs). In addition to MIDs, the report covers the chips that go in them, both high-end ARM-based application processors, and Intel’s new competing Atom X86-heritage processor. Cellular-centric chips that enable mobility are also covered in detail. Some key findings include: • Mobile Internet Devices (MIDs) represent a new class of mobile communications and lifestyle devices. Its hardware, software and form factor will require design from the ground up in order to meet market requirements for features, price, performance and power requirements. • The user interface will be key to success and will likely need to be capable of responding not only to touch-based inputs but also keep pace with other evolving input methods such as ones based on motion, gesture, placement, etc. • Although Apple’s 3G iPhone plows new ground in Internet access, user interaction and utility, we don’t consider it to be a MID, since we believe a true MID also requires a larger (4- to 6-inch) screen with higher resolution (VGA), TV out and optional Mobile TV capabilities. • We predict that global MID shipments will grow from 305,000 units shipped in 2008 to almost 40 million in 2012, reaching $12 billion in revenue.

• I ntegrated circuits for MIDs are forecast to grow from $29 million in 2008 to $2.6 billion in 2012. • Intel has a much better shot at UMPCs, being predominantly an enterprise play, where x86 compatibility is important, and with battery life expectations in line with notebooks. • Texas Instruments, with its mature and proven OMAP application processor family and the largest market share of the standalone Smartphone applications processor market, is one of the two best-positioned non-X86 semiconductor vendors for supplying stand-alone applications processors for all classes of MIDs. • Qualcomm is the other best-positioned nonX86 semiconductor vendor, with its powerful new SnapDragon application processor and the company’s market-leading 3G wireless solutions required for the MID market. • O  ther chip suppliers will have plays in the MID market, including Nvidia, with its strong graphics capability, which will play well for gaming applications, and Samsung, with its applications processor experience and stacked memory capability. The study forecasts low-end, mid-range and high-end MID markets and the integrated circuits, including application processors, digital basebands, RF transceivers and PAs, graphics and other coprocessors, imagers, touch-screen controllers and peripheral chips like Wi-Fi, WiMAX, GPS, Bluetooth and Mobile TV. Forward Concepts, Tempe, AZ. (480) 968-3759. [www.fwdconcepts.com].

AUGUST 2008

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cover feature DPSs vs. FPGAs

DSPs vs. FPGAs: Is There a Superior Choice for Portable Design? Recent FPGA achievements have leveled the playing field, but is it enough? by D  avid Coode, Manager, Audio Solutions, Custom Foundry Products Group, ON Semiconductor

I

In the 1980s both Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) and Digital Signal Processor technologies evolved to provide more value to digital electronics designers over conventional ASIC approaches available at that time. These technologies were developed with different focuses: FPGAs to collect discrete logic into a single re-programmable product, and DSPs to provide more efficient signal processing solutions. Today, FPGAs have matured to the point where they can be effectively applied to signal processing tasks, a domain that has recently belonged only to DSPs. What are today’s designers of portable electronics to make of the convergence of these technologies in the signal processing space? What is the better solution? FPGAs have a technical advantage that allows them to be a legitimate competitor over today’s DSPs because their basic silicon technology can be much more advanced. An FPGA is typically based on a silicon technology node,

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PORTABLE DESIGN

or two, ahead of new DSP offerings, which means that the logic of an FPGA is denser, faster and more power efficient (at least in operation). Whether this technical advantage is enough to make FPGAs more attractive than DSPs, where architecture is refined for optimal signal processing, is heavily dependent upon application and technology focus.

Application and Focus

Consider two examples that highlight specific advantages of both DSPs and FPGAs. First, an audio application that does echo cancellation processing on a telephone network will be better served by a DSP since the solution will be smaller, more power efficient (thereby generating less heat) and lower cost. Echo cancelling and audio processing are popular applications so the architecture in an appropriate DSP is typically the better engineering choice. Second, the implementation of a DSP algorithm to


Signal Processing Cores

With explosive growth in digital communications, including cellular wireless and broadband multimedia, fast-moving markets and applications have come to rely on digital signal processing to perform simple, highly repetitive multiply-accumulate operations on multiple channels of data. To address these opportunities, FPGA developers have introduced new generations of devices over the past decade with dedicated blocks of signal-processing circuitry, each comprising a multiply-accumulate (MAC) unit to create an embedded DSP core within the device. Successive new product introductions have provided more and more DSP MACs for designers to the extent that the latest families can achieve several billion multiplyaccumulate operations per second (GMACS) when operating at frequencies in the order of 500 MHz. In this way, for example, a single FPGA can provide sufficient DSP resources to handle multiple channels to perform baseband processing such as Digital Down Conversion in a cellular base station. A number of FPGAs are now available that are optimized for DSP applications. With a variety of densities that can include up to several hun-

cover feature

dred embedded DSP cores, designers now have a certain ratio of DSP to general logic available to meet their application-specific requirements. Where a massively parallel DSP is required, such as in the cryptographic system example

figure 1

Vbat

BelaSigna 300

Other ICs

Input Stage Preamplifier

Microphone Microphone Or...

IOC

Down-Sampling

PCM/I S Interface

IOC

Output Stage Up-sampling

HEAR

A/D

Speaker (>25mW)

Configurable Accelerator

A/D

Audio Inputs

External Clock

2

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MUX Bank

break encryption cryptography will actually be better implemented on an FPGA. This type of algorithm benefits from large-scale parallelism, but since a large scale market does not exist for massively parallel DSPs in general, this function does not map well into existing DSPs. The DSP solution is a preferred solution in the first case of the echo canceller because the product, reference designs, development tools and risk have all been optimized or solved for both consideration and understanding of market need. This is natural as the market is large and well established, and the need is clear. In the second case of the code-breaking application, the algorithm is not well suited to a standard DSP architecture, and owing to a small commercial market, there are no readily available reference designs to rely on. An FPGA is more flexible and can better accommodate the needs of this signal processing application. To generalize this case, often algorithms requiring parallelism are better served with FPGAs over traditional DSPs.

Output Driver

A/D

On-Chip Peripherals Watchdog Timer

General-purpose Timer

Power Management

Battery Monitor

Interrupt Controller

Clock Management

Power-On-Reset

Shared Memory

... ...

Button Switches

2

IC LSAD

CFX

IP Protection

Interfaces GPIO

24-bit DSP

GND

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SPI

NV Memory or Data for Boot

BelaSigna 300 audio processor

described previously or in a large multi-channel system, FPGAs typically now outperform dedicated DSPs, as well as providing extra opportunities for system-level integration using the general-purpose on-chip logic. Soft processor IP or dedicated processors implemented in hard logic on the chip, for example, allow engineers to satisfy an application’s control processing requirements within a single device. Regardless of the application or algorithm, better silicon solutions come with better application understanding and focus. Better means lower cost, lower power consumption, better integration, easier design-in and smaller size— all of which are of value, especially for the development of portable electronics. Stand-alone DSPs, for example, tend to comprise fewer cores, and typically implement one or two MAC units with associated supporting functions, each of which is more efficient than what could be realized on an individual MAC AUGUST 2008

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cover feature

unit in an FPGA. As such, they are less directed toward applications requiring massively parallel signal processing and more focused on those that require high-speed serial processing such as multimedia and audio functions. To satisfy parallel processing requirements up to several billion floating-point operations per second (GFLOPS), high-performance processing engines comprising multiple DSP chips, or DSP farms, have been built. In many cases, these are now being superseded with highly parallel DSP structures implemented in FPGAs, taking advantage of FPGAs’ typically smaller design rule to achieve a lower price as well as greater processing density. In a focused application using a single DSP chip, such as a home multimedia product, a companion MCU may also be used to perform control-plane processing. Alternatively, converged devices are available that implement the DSP and MCU functions in a single chip. Some devices allow engineers to optimize the partitioning between the control and signal processing. An advantage of the converged device architecture is that engineers can complete their design within a unified development environment, which can bypass numerous hardware and software integration challenges. Converged devices also typically integrate peripherals performing functions such as industry-standard communication interfaces including serial ports, as well as wireless interfaces and other functions such as external memory controllers or host DMA.

nd

er exploration ether your goal speak directly ical page, the ght resource. technology, es and products

ed

companies providing solutions now

Application-Optimized DSP

A latest converged processor can offer a exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the datasheet signal from a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touchtightly with the focused right resource. Whicheverfor levelvarious of platform types of gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you aremultimedia searching for. devices. Available codecs can sup-

onnected

End of Article Get Connected

with companies mentioned in this article. www.portabledesign.com/getconnected

18

port a variety of audio and video formats, and also allow engineers to implement new formats simply by changing the software. However, an Application Specific Standard Product (ASSP) incorporating optimized DSP resources, as well as necessary peripherals, can be tuned to deliver an even more tightly focused platform for a given challenge. Emerging generations of ASSPs for audio applications, which are built around a DSP core and implement critical system-management functions as well as the complete signal path, provide a good example of how focused silicon can fulfill all of these criteria.

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Figure 1 illustrates how the BelaSigna 300 audio processor from ON Semiconductor combines a 24-bit DSP core with on-chip memory, a dedicated input stage comprising four independent 24-bit ADCs, application-specific peripherals and interfaces, and an output stage including a class-D driver capable of interfacing directly to external speakers. Moreover, as an ASSP focused on digital audio applications for laptop and smartphone applications, the IC also implements custom controllers that manage the transfer and buffering of audio signals between processing elements and memory. Much of this device could be replicated in an FPGA, for example, provided the designer pay careful attention to meeting timing constraints when implementing the controller functions. The analog input and output stages would also need to be implemented externally in an FPGAbased solution, demanding careful attention to managing issues such as noise. The tight application focus of the ASSP has also enabled optimization of the DSP resources to execute the required algorithms in the most power-efficient manner. For example, the HEAR accelerator illustrated is a parallel core operating alongside the 24-bit CFX DSP, and optimized to perform audio-specific signal processing functions such as time-frequency transforms, vector multiplications, CORDIC approximations and energy calculations. Hence, when evaluating a processing platform for a portable audio or multimedia product, the question is not so much whether to use an FPGA or DSP, but which type of signal processing device delivers the best trade-off between performance, cost, power consumption, size and time-to-market. Given that there is no universally optimum technology choice for all signal processing applications, there are some design considerations that can guide the way.

Design Considerations

Another major factor for choosing either an FPGA or DSP is complete solution cost. An FPGA may cost a factor of two or four times more than a DSP to tackle a given problem, and up to 10 times more than an ASSP. In an application that may require several DSP chips, such as a video controller that needs to handle 10-bit R, G and B signals simultaneously, a


cover feature in large part with good mature design software tools. For FPGA tools, this would include the availability of proven DSP soft cores that can be used and customized in the design and a higherlevel language that will allow a signal processing algorithm to be defined. This is a notable improvement for the RTL/VHDL-level tools for an engineer looking at a signal processing application. DSP design tools also benefit from good optimizing compilers for higher-level languages like C. In both cases, a well-stocked software library is essential. The ideal DSP tools will benefit from tools that allow abstraction to the block-diagram level, but efficiency can suffer with this approach. As with the other dimensions, market focus can yield some very valuable tools from the solution suppliers, such as complete reference designs.

Conclusion: Improving Value Proposition

In summary, there are still a number of advantages to using DSPs over FPGAs for signal processing applications in portable devices. However, until only recently, FPGAs were only considered for bench prototypes in most of the portable design world. Clearly, the gap to the DSP for commercial deployment is closing. This diminishing gap delivers benefits to designers targeting small or unknown markets, by providing a practicable route to a custom DSP solution in the absence of a suitable ASSP. However, as ASSP design cycles are also diminishing, the window for developers to build and introduce an FPGA-based product is becoming ever shorter. As the solutions available in the form of FPGAs, DSPs and ASSPs continue to evolve rapidly, customers can expect exciting shifts delivering new and better value propositions.

figure 2

1000

250

Size (mm2)

BOM analysis may favor the FPGA. Another more common scenario is for lighter signal processing tasks where an FPGA is already in the design with some spare blocks; these might be used for signal processing “for free.” Although FPGAs are integrating more features in the latest products, these additions are almost all digital. Currently, only DSP and ASSPs deliver mixed-signal chips that can offer the integrated A/Ds and D/As that are so often needed in real-world signal processing work. Having external components adds size, cost and usually power consumption over an integrated solution, and should be avoided if possible in a portable application. Overall, where a suitable ASSP is available this will likely provide the most highly integrated solution, thereby saving bill of materials costs as well as reducing size and power consumption. When considering signal processing in portable devices, solution size and power consumption are critical design considerations (Figure 2). Since chip size is directly related to flexibility of the application, FPGAs are at an immediate disadvantage for portable designs. FPGAs have also, historically, been at a disadvantage in terms of power consumption. Some FPGA manufacturers have put a lot of focus into reducing power consumption, with various devices offering lean, highly optimized feature sets and on-chip power management. Combined with the advantages of being one or two process nodes ahead of competing device technologies, this allows some low-power FPGAs to achieve comparable power consumption to generic DSPs. In practice, power consumption is more closely linked to the operating speed rather than the complexity of the device. For this reason, a DSP core that is optimized to execute the desired algorithms at the optimum speed for the application can be extremely power efficient. The BelaSigna 300 audio processor chip, for example, can operate at a clock speed that is five to ten times slower than would be required for a generic processor to achieve equivalent performance. Ease of design is another important factor that can improve a design engineer’s quality of life and enable shorter design cycles for quicker time-to-market. Both goals can be achieved

FPGA General-purpose

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Design considerations in portable electronics

About the Author

David Coode manages the Audio DSP team at ON Semiconductor that develops DSP-based audio processing ASSPs designed for portable applications (www.belasigna.com). Coode received his B.A.Sc. in computer engineering at the University of Waterloo in Waterloo, Canada. ON Semiconductor, Phoenix, AZ. (602) 244-6600. [www.onsemi.com].

AUGUST 2008

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cover feature DSPs vs. FPGAs

Choosing the Right Central Logic Device for Your Product Design Finding the perfect balance of power consumption, size, functionality, flexibility and cost is no easy matter.

M

by Amit Kapadiya, Marketing Manager, Nuvation

Most portable applications have a central logic device: field array programmable gate array (FPGA), digital signal processor (DSP) or microprocessor. Deciding the right device for your design is pivotal to the application capabilities and involves some important questions. What options do you consider? Which factors are important? Some designers look at component count, form factor and future roadmaps of the device, while others are solely interested in system performance requirements and power consumption. At the same time, economic parameters such as non-recurring engineering (NRE) investment, BOM cost, time-tomarket and project risk are equally important. Another factor is the familiarity level of the design team with the chosen technology. In some cases, the design team may have a strong skillset in FPGA systems and little DSP or microprocessor background, or vice versa. In such cases, the design would benefit to include an FPGA in terms of time-to-market and project risk.

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PORTABLE DESIGN

When designing a portable application, the trade-offs that come with portability trump the trade-offs between devices. So when designing a portable product, choosing the right device comes down to tweaking the perfect balance of power consumption, size, functionality, flexibility and cost. These trade-offs are largely dependent on the application and have to be weighed on a perproject basis. There are no hard and fast rules to choosing a device, and the best way to get a better grasp of the process is through examples.

FPGAs in Portable Applications

FPGAs provide various options for designers to create custom logic/hardware for widely parallel, high computation rate algorithms. For applications that can be implemented with a lower cost off-the-shelf ASIC, having the flexibility of customization is a traditional advantage of using an FPGA. In one of Nuvation’s handheld global positioning system (GPS) designs, for example,


Power Savings

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mirasol display also automatically scales to the surrounding lighting conditions, allowing users to see their content in almost every environment, even bright sunlight. See mirasol displays for yourself at the Portable Design Conference & Exhibition and at CTIA IT & Entertainment, booth 435.

www.mirasoldisplays.com


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two FPGAs were chosen to implement the varied functionality. One FPGA implemented an LCD controller, which offered a lower cost and higher refresh rate than an originally targeted off-the-shelf ASIC. This FPGA received pixel output from a microprocessor and wrote to a frame buffer in a SRAM. A second parallel process in the FPGA pulled data from the frame buffer and sent it to the LCD screen. Further into product development, we discovered we could improve the GPS RF quality by carefully tuning the frequency of the LCD refresh rate away from the GPS harmonics. This would not have been as simple without the FPGA solution. In a portable design like a GPS unit with multiple controls and buttons, a device to handle disparate functions—all inside one chip—is extremely beneficial. The second FPGA in the handheld assumed the roles of the DRAM controller, keyboard controller, PWM for buzzer and partial power conditioner in addition to hosting various other bits of glue logic. Such functionality is best implemented with an FPGA. In this example, the FPGA’s very low leakage power best met with the product’s low power requirements. As a handheld device, it had to provide power for a full working day of heavy GPS and data-logging functionality on a single charge. nd Usage of the programmable logic provided several engineering methodology advantages. er exploration ether your goal It accelerated schematic capture by allowspeak directly ing the board designer to route various digital ical page, the ght resource. logic to the FPGA and then write the FPGA technology, code while the board was in layout, fab and ases and products sembly. If previous discrete digital logic was ed used, this engineering design would have been required to be completed prior to release to layout. Further, it was determined early on that the efficiency of the DRAM controller would be a combination of engineering effort. An early release of the DRAM controller used three wait companies providing solutions now states anddatasheet enabled a arapid release for integraexploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest from company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touchtion withwith the right Whichever level team. of anresource. overseas software While the gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you areunit searching was for. being shipped, a faster 0 wait state deonnected sign was coded, and the new, faster hardware was e-mailed to the remote software team. While the unit was in overseas integration, a high pinout connector was used to hook to an emulator. The connector was only intended for development and was somewhat fragile. Unexpectedly, one of the memory connector traces broke during software integration. Rather than send the hardware back for repair, or try to coach the software team to repair it remotely, we worked out a development patch in the FPGA DRAM controlGet Connected with companies mentioned in this article. ler that rerouted requests to an area of memory www.portabledesign.com/getconnected that was still properly connected.

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So using FPGAs provided not only lower cost, lower power and higher functionality, but it also accelerated the development schedule and increased product flexibility. That increased flexibility allowed us to e-mail new hardware to an overseas software team and saved at least one board spin, ultimately protecting the product’s scheduled release date. Splitting the functionality between two FPGAs also allowed for more flexibility in subsequent upgrades and revisions. A study of the situation achieved further cost savings by combining the two FPGAs into a single, larger FPGA as the second generation of the product. This allowed for a controlled, risk-free growth of the product roadmap.

DSPs in Portable Applications

The core of a DSP is designed to optimally execute signal processing algorithms for which the principle operation (multiply-and-accumulate) is similar. Similar to microcontrollers (MCUs), DSPs are packaged with many peripherals and different types of memory in the same device. In a sense, DSPs concurrently offer all flexibilities and functionalities offered by most MCUs in addition to being optimal for signal processing applications for low and medium performance applications. Therefore, DSPs are the device of choice for system architects for a large range of applications given the combination of MCU functionality, optimal signal processing and bundled on-chip peripherals in the same package. An example here would be a portable voiceplayback application. In that project, a DSP was optimal for power, cost and functionality. FPGAs lacked the needed integrated ADCs (analog to digital converters) and DACs (digital to analog converters) internally, and developers achieved that functionality through a DSP instead. The device selected for portable voice-playback also needed to be capable of being upgraded to newer voice codecs over time. An arbitrarily configurable FPGA may have provided more flexibility; however, Nuvation reduced significant development time by selecting Texas Instruments’ TMS320C54x DSP with integrated signal processing functionality. The DSP had some limitations on I/O options, which resulted in some extra design work. However, due to the portability of the application, the very low power dissipation of this particular DSP outweighed the device I/O complexity. As designers move from developing plugged-in products to creating truly portable applications, they will need processors that can provide lower power, higher performance and


DSP & Microprocessor Application Example: Nuvation IP Camera PoE Reference Design

With the growth of video surveillance, machine vision and video teleconferencing, Nuvation recently released a low-cost IP camera PoE (power over ethernet) reference design, the newest addition to our video product line. This design allows Nuvation clients to achieve rapid time-to-market with minimum NRE, while allowing modification of the design to customize it for a specific target application. Nuvation provides the following specifications for the Nuvation IP camera reference design: • Small Form Factor IP Camera • Power over Ethernet • Standard optics (CS Mount) with wide dynamic range (WDR) imaging • Low power with PoE support • Low BOM cost • DFM/DFx including RoHS compliance and obsolescence risk mitigation • Full embedded Linux, real-time • TCP/IP and/or analog video output • H.264, MPEG-4, MJPEG encoder flexibility, up to D1 at 30 fps • Support for custom or licensed video analytics software • Field programmable Nuvation engineers chose TI’s TMS320DM6446 digital media processor in response to success in previous designs. This device, which is based on DaVinci technology, is a high-performance system-on-chip (SoC) targeted at high-end video applications. This dual processor device contains a TMS320C64x+ DSP core for accelerated video processing and an ARM9 microprocessor core for coprocessing tasks and peripheral management. The DM6446 DSP is the principal device in the IP Camera PoE reference design and is responsible for acquiring video data, encoding it into the desired format and outputting it via Ethernet and TCP/IP. As a dual processor device, the DM6446 processor allows designers the flexibility of implementing the signal processing algorithms in the C64x+ DSP core while simultaneously ex-

cover feature

even high-precision floating-point capabilities. TI’s newest low-power DSPs and applications processors, for example, offer systems designers a broad range of low-power processors to meet the growing shift in the marketplace for not only more battery life but also for maintaining the same if not higher performance.

ecuting various other tasks such as packet assembly for streaming media and peripheral management in the ARM9 microcontroller core, offering developers the best of both worlds. Another benefit of using the DM6446 DSP is the existing Linux distribution for ARM9 microprocessor, which allows system designers to take advantage of the existing firmware in the open source community and quick integration of thirdparty libraries. Ethernet ports, video ports and the DM6446’s small footprint and affordable power consumption were some other deciding factors for choosing this device for the Nuvation IP Camera PoE reference design. In brief, the DM6446 DSP made it possible to meet all outlined design requirements while minimizing the NRE costs.

Device Selection

As we have seen in our projects, selecting an appropriate central logic device for a portable application is determined by the unique set of requirements for each specific project. The choice between an FPGA and DSP depends on many parameters including power, cost, size, flexibility, NRE, timeto-market and functionality. An exact formula does not exist because it is a question of trade-offs. Understanding these trade-offs can guide a designer to choose a platform that best suits a specific system for performance, BOM cost and risk. In this article, we highlighted design examples with unique requirements and discussed which kind of device was best suited for the job. We hope you can use our experience to develop your own method to analyzing requirements, prioritizing parameters, weighing trade-offs and choosing the appropriate device for your design. Nuvation Research Corp., San Jose, CA. (408) 228-5580. [www.nuvation.com].

AUGUST 2008

23


wireless communications RF power management

RF Power Measurement Techniques for Portable Systems Designing low-power circuits while extracting acceptable performance is a difficult task. Doing so at RF frequencies raises the challenge exponentially. by Vladimir Dvorkin, Applications Engineering Manager; Andy Mo, Applications Engineer; James Wong, Product Marketing Manager, Linear Technology Corporation

W

With everything today going wireless, RF power measurement is rapidly becoming a necessity. This article highlights many useful techniques for measuring RF signal levels accurately in order to optimize the performance of these wireless systems. The article discusses the optimal approach for varying application requirements. RF signals can take many forms, from a single carrier continuous wave (CW) to that of a multicarrier, QAM (Quadrature Amplitude Modulation) that contains high crest-factor wave shape. Measuring the power levels of these widely varying signals requires understanding their characteristics as well as the required measurement accuracy. If the signal is bursty, such as that in a TDD (Time Division Duplexing) system, it becomes more complicated as there are time domain measurement considerations. In any event, selecting the right detector type can help simplify the design task.

24

PORTABLE DESIGN

Measuring RF Power Using Peak Detection

Take the simplest case of a CW waveform measurement. Even if the amplitude can vary, as long as the signal is within a prescribed time interval during which the amplitude is relatively constant, for all practical purposes, accurate measurement can be made with a peak level detector such as the LTC5532 from Linear Technology. This device is built with a very fast Schottky detector with on-chip temperature compensation and a 2 MHz bandwidth output buffer. The internal Schottky circuit peak-detects the incoming RF signal and performs a peak-hold filtering, producing a DC output voltage that is proportional to the RF input peak level. The LTC5532 is a very low power device that runs on 500 ÎźA supply current in active mode. Yet its internal Schottky circuit is capable of detecting 7 GHz RF signals. A version of the part, the LT-


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figure 1 VCC 2.7V to 6V

C2 100pF

CS 1.2pF 1

Besides having high dynamic range and superior sensitivity, log detectors have excellent bandwidth characteristics.

VCC

RFIN

6

LTC5532EDC 2

VOUT R2 10k

3

VOUT

GND

VM

VOS

RFIN 11.5GHz to 12GHz C1 1.2pF

5

4

R3 10k

A 12 GHz RF Peak Detector Circuit

C5532EDC in a 6-lead, 2 mm x 2 mm plastic DFN package offers er exploration 2200 ether your goal TA=25°C low parasitics and can speak directly 2000 support operation to 12 ical page, the 1800 ght resource. GHz and higher. technology, Figure 1 shows this 1600 es and products 12 GHz detector’s 1400 ed RF input matched to 1200 11.5 GHz – 12 GHz. So its input circuit 1000 can be connected to 800 the coupled output 600 of a directional coucompanies providing solutions now pler or an RF source. exploration into products, technologies 400 and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever of Theleveldetector output gy, Get Connected will help200 you connect with the companies and products you are searching for. amplifier gain is exonnected 0 ternally set by the R2 -24 -20 -16 -12 -8 -4 0 4 8 and R3 resistors at 10k RF Input Power (dBm) each closing the loop around the internal amplifier with a non12 GHz Detector Characteristics inverting gain of two. At 12 GHz frequency, the circuit board material can introduce circuit parasitics that can affect the input impedance matching. However, acceptable performance can be achieved using standard FR-4 PC board Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. material. The RF input matching consists of www.portabledesign.com/getconnected two 1.2pF capacitors, C1 and C3. The C3 ca-

figure 2

VOUT Output Voltage (mV)

nd

End of Article

26

PORTABLE DESIGN

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pacitor also serves the purpose of DC blocking because the device’s RF input is internally DC biased. RF input matching may need to be reoptimized for each specific application layout or other operating frequencies. At 12 GHz the RF input Return Loss measured 10 dB. Figure 2 shows a plot that depicts the detector’s transfer characteristic when a 12 GHz RF input signal is swept from -24 dBm to 8 dBm, its useful detection range.

Use a High Dynamic Range Detector to Measure Low Level RF Signals

For applications requiring measurements of very low level RF signals, a high dynamic range detector with better sensitivity is necessary. Such a function is commonly used in a receiver that measures the RSSI for the purpose of providing AGC (Automatic Gain Control) feedback control. Other applications include field strength meter instruments. For this type of signal measurement, the log detector type is well suited since it measures the average power of a signal. Besides having high dynamic range and superior sensitivity, log detectors have excellent bandwidth characteristics extending to low frequencies. Their output provides a constant output slope in mV/ dB log-linear scaling, facilitating ease of use.


An example of a high dynamic range log detector circuit is shown in Figure 3. The LT5538 is a log detector manufactured by Linear Technology that has more than 60 dB dynamic range. While the IC is capable of operating from 40 MHz to 38 GHz, the circuit as shown is designed and appropriately matched from 40 MHz to 2.2 GHz, covering a broad frequency range including all the cellular bands. The detector can discern a signal as small as -68 dBm. Its dynamic range spans nearly 70 dB with an accuracy of +/-1 dB. At lower frequencies, for example at 880 MHz, its dynamic range improves to 74 dB. Temperature drift is a difficult problem for high-accuracy instrumentation as well as for many high-performance wireless systems such as a cellular basestation. Typical desired accuracy is ½ dB or better, and held to this tolerance over the rated temperature extremes. The LT5538 achieves this desired accuracy over a wide dynamic range, thus minimizing the need for tedious calibration over temperature. The LT5538 draws 29 mA supply current— necessary to achieve 4 GHz maximum operating frequency. The device has a shut-down capability. In sleep mode the device draws less than 100 μA quiescent current. The device can be turned on and initiates measurements in 300 ns. So this detector facilitates burst-mode measurements, conserving power in portable applications.

How to Measure Real Power of High Crest-Factor Signals

Modern broadband wireless data systems use complex modulation waveforms. For example, WiMAX and LTE (4th generation, Long Term Evolution) employ multiple carriers, each modulated with high-order QAM modulation. These RF signals have a peak-to-average ratio as high as 12 dB and are non-periodic in nature, making accurate measurements difficult. Calibration using look-up tables are often attempted with limited success to correct for simple modulated waveforms. However, with the trend of increasingly more complex modulation, correction using look-up tables is becoming inadequate. A new RMS detector, the LT5581 from Linear Technology, helps solve these inaccuracy problems. The device employs an on-chip RMS measurement circuit that produces highly ac-

figure 3 VCC 1

2

RFIN

3 1pF

56Ω 1nF

OUT

8

4

7

IN+

CAP+

IN-

CAP- 6

VEE

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1nF

1.5nH

ENBL

5

8200pF

100pF

VCC 5V

A High Dynamic Range Log Detector Circuit

curate power measurement of high crest-factor signals. It is capable of measuring signals from 10 MHz to as high as 6 GHz. It has a dynamic range of 40 dB at lower frequencies and 30 dB at high frequencies. Additionally, the device offers exceptional accuracy over temperature, thus providing repeatable measurement. figure 4 With all its capability, the device consumes VCC a mere 1.4 mA supply 0.01µF current. The RF input is single-ended, so no RF balun transformer 0.01µF 100pF is required. Its wide 8 1 VCC CSQ bandwidth enables Antenna multi-band radios such 1.8pF LT5581IDDB as 3G or 4G broadband 604Ω 2 7 wireless data modem EN RFIN cards, 3G or 4G smart 6 3 75Ω GND VOUT phones, WiMAX data 4 5 modem cards and GND GND GND Tx PA Module high-performance portable radios. 9 The single-ended RF input lends itself Baseband Controller VPC well to directly tapping off from a RF source, such as a RF PA amplifier. An example of A 5.8 GHz RMS Detector Implementation such an implementaAUGUST 2008

27


wireless communications

Detector Output (V)

tion is shown in a 5.8 GHz WLAN or WiMAX transmitter PA amplifier power control circuit in Figure 4. The detector’s RF input is tapped into the PA output via a 20 dB resistive attenuator formed by the 604Ω and 75Ω voltage divider. This resistive tap eliminates the need for a directional coupler while saving costs. The 1.8 pF DC blocking capacitor serves to match the impedance of the detector. The entire resistive tap circuit introduces less than 0.2 dB insertion loss to the PA output, an amount that is quite modest. For improved coupling accuracy, the figure 5 604Ω and 75Ω resistors 1.2 should be 1% tolerance components and the 1.8 pF should be 5% or bet1.0 ter. The recommended component values for the resistive tap are for 0.8 reference. In actual implementation, the values nd 0.6 may differ slightly, depending on parts placeer exploration ether your goal ment, PC board parasit0.4 speak directly ics and the parameters ical page, the ght resource. of the PA and antenna. 0.2 technology, However, using a dies and products 5.7 GHz rectional coupler has 5.8 GHz 5.9 GHz ed the benefit of providing 0 some directivity, where-40 -30 -20 -10 0 10 20 30 as the resistive tap cirPA Output (dBm) cuit does not. That is, if the PA has excessive reflected power, a coupler companies providing solutions now 5.8 GHz Detector Response would largely block that exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever andlevel willof have minimum gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you areinfluence searching for. on the measurement accuracy. That is not onnected so for the resistive tap circuit, which can contribute a small amount of measurement errors. Figure 5 shows the detector transfer function as the PA amplifier output sweeps through the power range. At 5.8 GHz, the detector provides 25 dB dynamic range performance, typically sufficient for power control purposes. At lower frequencies, such as 2.1 GHz or 880 MHz, the LT5581’s dynamic range improves to 40 dB.

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28

Conclusion

Depending on the signals to be measured, different choices of RF detectors are available

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For high crest-factor signals, RMS detectors produce the most accurate measurement results.

to provide the optimum solution for the measurement needs. Schottky peak detectors are well suited for constant amplitude power measurements as long as the dynamic range is limited. Log detectors have higher dynamic range and superior sensitivity to measure low-level signals. And for high crest-factor signals, RMS detectors produce the most accurate measurement results.

Author Bios

Vladimir Dvorkin is an RF Applications Engineering Manager with Linear Technology. Prior to that he held various engineering positions with Philips Consumer Communications, Motorola and Magnavox CATV. Mr. Dvorkin holds six U.S. patents and has BSEE and MSEE degrees from the University of Moscow. Andy Mo is an RF applications engineer at Linear Technology. Prior to that he worked at Maxim Integrated products as an applications engineer. He received his MSEE degree from the University of California, Santa Barbara, with a focus on communications electronics. James Wong is RF Product Marketing Manager with Linear Technology. He previously held marketing and design engineering management positions with Arwave, Inc., Analog Devices, National Semiconductor and Texas Instruments. Mr. Wong holds BSEE and MBA degrees. Linear Technology, Milpitas, CA. (408) 432-1900. [www.linear.com].


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consumer electronics proximity sensors

Use of Integrated Optical Proximity Sensors in MultiFunction Smart Phones Integrated approach enables multiple features and reduces PCB real estate and design engineering steps.

by A  ndreas Vogler, Product Marketing Manager for Infrared Products, OSRAM Opto Semiconductors

T

Today’s smart phones are the focal point of technological convergence, combining mobile phone, MP3 player, camera, video, wireless Internet, e-mail, gaming, Bluetooth and navigation systems into one small device with the slim profile and light weight that consumers have come to expect. Short-range proximity sensors have become increasingly important components in managing a number of these features and making these feature-rich mobile devices more flexible and comfortable for the user, while simultaneously reducing power consumption and extending battery life. Today’s proximity sensors are “smart” devices that are expected to provide real-time feedback that enables the mobile device to react automatically to the environment and to the user. A new generation of reflective optical proximity sensors has been developed to meet the demands of multi-functional smart phones and

30

PORTABLE DESIGN

figure 1 THINFILM DIES: LED WITH INTEGRATED MIRROR

1 2

3

1 2 3 4

LED Layers Structuring Metal Reflector Substrate

4

Thinfilm approach to chip construction directs emitted light upwards and enables more of the generated light to be used.

other mobile devices. They function by emitting invisible infrared light and detecting the amount of light reflected from a target (e.g. a finger, hand, or cheek). These sensors integrate


Curbing Power Consumption

Thinfilm technology, developed by OSRAM in 1999, was designed to extract more light from the LED chip and direct the light emission almost entirely upwards. Previously, though more than 90% of the electrical power of the LED chip could be converted into light, only a small proportion of that light could actually emerge from the chip in a “useful” way. Most of the generated light was reflected back into the chip and absorbed there or emitted out the sides of the chip. Thinfilm technology has significantly improved the light output from LED chips primarily by greatly decreasing the distance a photon must travel within the LED before escaping through the top surface. The concept behind Thinfilm is shown in Figure 1. A metal layer is integrated in the LED structure and functions as a mirror, reflecting the light generated in the chip to the top sur-

face, from which it is emitted. In the Thinfilm approach, a conventional LED structure is grown in reverse order on top of an appropriate substrate, with a contact metal deposited as the last layer. This substrate with the metal layer on top is then flipped and bonded to a new metalized carrier substrate, a material with selected properties superior to the growth substrate (e.g. thermal conductivity). Finally, the original growth substrate is removed and contacts are formed on the top and bottom surfaces. The resultant chip construction ensures that light is emitted exclusively upwards. This concept has been applied to a variety of material systems and colors (red, yellow, blue) including, in 2004, infrared light emitting diodes (IREDs). With LCDs consuming more than 50% of the power budget of a smart phone or other portable mobile device system, maximizing the efficiency of the LED backlight to generate more light without increasing power consumption is critical. The use of a surface emitter employing

consumer electronics

a high-efficiency infrared Thinfilm emitter, a photodetector, and an ASIC in a small surfacemountable package. They enable both powersaving and user interface functions such as automatic turning on and off of the display and keypad backlight (e.g. if the device is placed in a pocket or face down on a table), deactivation of a touch screen interface to avoid unintended inputs (e.g. when engaged in a phone call), or automatic standby/ready state switching. Optical proximity sensors may also enable automatic adjustment of the speaker volume when the phone is moved closer to the user’s ear. These sensing devices take up very little PCB real estate due to the use of Thinfilm LED chip technology and innovative packaging techniques. New short-range optical proximity sensors with a detection range up to ~30 mm (approx. 1.12”) are as small as 3.7 x 3.7 x 1.0 mm (approx. 0.16” x 0.16” x 40 mil), with features such as digital output, low current consumption (50-75 µA average depending on operating range), integrated LED and driver, and ambient light suppression. Their digital signal output and integrated ambient light suppression eliminate the need for additional signal evaluation.

figure 2 Reflector Signal Cover

Emitter

Detector

Schematic representation of crosstalk in the form of a signal reflected from the cover window. The reflector may be a finger, ear, or carrying case, for example.

figure 3 Air

Cover

t

Air

d

Sensor

s An appropriate choice of optical separator, extending from the sensor to the panel/cover can reduce crosstalk between the emitter and detector. Different separator widths are shown schematically in black, grey and white, and the correct dimensions depend on the relationship between the LED-photodetector spacing, sensor-cover spacing and cover thickness (s, d and t respectively).

AUGUST 2008

31


consumer electronics

Thinfilm technology enables light to be emitted only from the top side, versus from all sides, eliminating the need for a reflector or lens to focus the light and enabling simpler and more efficient optical systems. For the same reasons, this device structure also enables the efficient infrared emitters in advanced, compact packages that are used in state-of-the-art optical proximity sensors.

figure 4 Discrete Vs. Integrated Design Integrated Approach

Discrete Approach MOD

Detector

Electronics

nd

er exploration ether your goal speak directly ical page, the ght resource. technology, es and products

ed

LED

Driver/FET

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Amplifier

Modulator

Driver/FET

LED

DeA OUT Detector Amplifier Modulator Comparator

D OUT

Emitter/Detector

~16 mm2

~50 mm2 The integrated approach to optical proximity sensor chip design dramatically reduces size, with increased functionality. The term “modulator” refers in general to some driving of the LED, and “demodulator” refers to a receiver or signal processor that interprets the light stream.

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Addressing Optical Crosstalk

In latest designing optical proxexploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the datasheetnew fromminiaturized a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touchimity with thesensors right resource. level multi-functional of intoWhichever today’s gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you aremobile searchingdevices, for. the issues of electrical interfer-

onnected

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32

ence, crosstalk and signal-to-noise ratio need to be addressed. There are two sources of interference in an optical proximity sensor: external (e.g. sunlight, indoor lighting, unintended targets) and internal (e.g. optical crosstalk between the subcomponents of the proximity sensor). External interference can be suppressed in large part in the analog and/or signal processing domain. For example, the LED signal may be modulated at a given carrier frequency, such that the DC or low-frequency light sources (e.g. sunlight, light bulbs) are ignored (similarly as in TV remote

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controls). An often-used alternative is to take “background” measurements when the LED is off, and to subtract the background level from the signal measured when the LED is on. Internal interference can prove challenging to manage in applications where the proximity sensor is mounted behind a transparent or semi-transparent panel (e.g. Plexiglas), since the intensity of the light reflected from the panel/cover can be similar in magnitude to the signal of interest. The distinction between these two signals is shown in Figure 2. It has been seen in the laboratory that, without appropriate countermeasures, the operating range of a proximity sensor may be reduced from over 25 mm to around 5 mm simply by placing a harmless piece of plexiglass about 1 mm above the sensor. Incorporating an optical barrier or separator between the emitter and detector components of the sensor, built from the base of the sensor to the panel/cover, can dramatically reduce internal crosstalk, as shown in Figure 3. Ideally, the separator height should be as close to the sensor-cover separation as possible, not only to suppress the direct crosstalk from emitter to detector, but also the indirect crosstalk from reflections from both the inner and outer surfaces of the panel/cover. As a rule of thumb, the width of the separator should be comparable to the cover thickness to effectively suppress this indirect crosstalk. Multiple reflections within the cover may generally be ignored as the reflectivity of a typical cover-air interface is in the neighborhood of only 4%. As a wide separator limits the permissible light emission and detection angles, system designers typically (in particular when using an integrated design) use a panel/cover with minimal thickness and a small sensor-cover distance to maximize sensor performance.

Discrete versus Integrated Design

Optical proximity sensors can be designed in two ways. Traditionally, system designers built sensors from multiple discrete components, while more recently it is possible to purchase integrated sensors. Figure 4 illustrates the significant space savings afforded by an in-


figure 5

tures, eliminates the need for additional signal evaluation. The component count of a typical complete proximity sensor subsystem using the discrete design approach can reach up to 15 or more components, whereas the integrated approach requires only an external capacitor to stabilize the supply voltage, an optional resistor to adjust the detection distance, and a pull-up resistor for the output. Integrated modules are also far easier to debug than discrete components within a device.

Conclusion This size comparison dramatically illustrates the tiny size of a short-range optical proximity sensor with integrated design.

tegrated approach. A proximity sensor design using a discrete driver, LED, detector, filter and amplifier requires approximately 50 mm2 of real estate, while an integrated design requires only about 16 mm2. Figure 5 graphically demonstrates the tiny size of a short-range optical proximity sensor chip with integrated design. Moreover, some integrated proximity sensors incorporate additional functionality, increasing their advantage in reducing real estate, component count and processor load. The discrete design illustrated in Figure 4, for example, includes only the analog components required to drive an LED and receive a reflected signal. It lacks the modulation function incorporated in the integrated design and, thus, requires an external logical drive signal to be generated elsewhere. The term “modulation” is used very generally in this case, referring simply to turning the LED on and off in regular (not necessarily sine or square wave) intervals in order to support ambient light suppression. Moreover, the output of the discrete design is an analog signal, so an A/D converter or comparator must also be added to provide a digital output signal. The ASIC in the integrated design has, in addition to the drive signal generator, an on-chip comparator, an integrated LED driver (and LED in the package), and an ambient light suppression function. Its digital output signal, combined with these fea-

Mobile handheld devices will continue to evolve into ever “smarter” consumer tools, with virtually every new technical innovation packed into one slim, compact, lightweight device. The need for low-voltage ICs, extended ranges, smaller and lower profile packages and more functionality will continue to drive the demand for optical proximity sensors that can be integrated into ever smaller multi-function chip packages. These LED sensors will continue to enable the increasing functionality of handheld mobile devices such as smart phones, while helping designers manage power consumption and PCB real estate demands. OSRAM Opto Semiconductors Santa Clara, CA. (888) 446-7726. [www.osram-os.com].

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portable power energy harvesting

Vibration Energy Endows Ambient Intelligence in Sensor Networks This case study examines the use of energy harvesting to power ultra-low-power 24/7 wireless sensor networks.

by Dan Shepard, Vice President of Marketing, AdaptivEnergy

T

The collapse of the I-35W Mississippi River Bridge in Minneapolis on August 1, 2007 killed 13 people and injured a hundred more, tragically illustrating a major problem for America as a whole. Much of the transportation infrastructure we depend on is aging and in need of maintenance. In fact, in 2006, the Federal Highway Administration listed more than onefourth of the nation’s bridges as either structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. How can we extend the life of these structures while avoiding such disasters in the future? Visual inspection is clearly not enough: the I-35W Bridge had passed routine visual inspections. A newer, more comprehensive method of inspection is to monitor structural vibrations through sensors, then transmit the results to a data collection point that analyzes where and when problems are likely to occur. In the past, obtaining this kind of detailed structural view of a bridge was difficult and costly.

34

PORTABLE DESIGN

Supplying power to each sensor-transmitter has traditionally required expensive wiring installation or if the units were designed to operate without wiring for power and communications, required routine maintenance for battery changes. Because maintenance requirements forbid placing sensors in difficult-to-reach places that may be critical for monitoring, the data gathered could be inadequate and safety seriously compromised. Today, however, a new technology from AdaptivEnergy may make remote structural and safety monitoring a straightforward and relatively inexpensive process. Instead of relying on a battery, AdaptivEnergy’s Joule-Thief technology harvests and stores energy from vibrations, then uses the stored charge to power a microcontroller, various sensors and a wireless transmitter. Ultra-low-power microcontroller (MCU) and radio frequency (RF) technology from Texas Instruments handle the collection


Early in the development process, AdaptivEnergy realized they needed ultra-low power yet sophisticated signal processing capabilities to meet their design objectives. One reason is that at low vibration levels energy harvesters typically capture very small amounts of energy, so the microcontroller and RF transceiver used to capture the information from the sensor(s) control the operation of the system and transmit that information need to be able to run using a tiny amount of power.

figure 1 Energy Accumulation (per minute) vs. Input Vibration Amplitude (capacitive storage version)

Energy Accumulated (mJ)

Enabling Ambient Intelligence

Joule-Thief technology represents a relatively new form of energy harvesting—using energy from vibrations. Since everything around us vibrates to some degree, virtually anything could be a potential energy source. Perhaps the oldest form of energy harvesting came from using running water to turn a wheel, although the best-known forms today involve using power sources such as solar panels and wind turbines. To satisfy small-scale power requirements, ambient radio waves are sometimes used in applications like radio-frequency identification (RFID) toll tags, pallet markers in warehouses, wave-and-go credit cards and a variety of other applications. These tags passively receive energy from an RFID reader, then transmit a smallenergy response for identification. Joule-Thief technology can also harvest energy from ordinary mechanical vibrations created in machines, vehicles, buildings and other structures such as bridges. Compact sensor-transmitters can fit in small spaces such as car doors and electric motor housings. There, the sensors perform their jobs without batteries, line power or communications wiring, and can operate indefinitely without servicing. As a result, this technology is a particularly good candidate for applications that require long life, must operate at high temperatures or have difficult access. It is also an effective means for “waking up” otherwise dormant electronics when environmental conditions demand. When AdaptivEnergy set out to design their Joule-Thief technology, the company’s engineers faced a choice near the beginning of the development process that had a crucial impact on the final result.

portable power

of vibration data, control the operation of the system as a whole and send messages at intervals to a collection point. Potentially, the Joule-Thief could harvest energy from the rumbling vibrations created by traffic on the bridge, then send that data from all the sensors on the bridge to a collection point where it would be analyzed to monitor structural soundness. Joule-Thief-powered wireless sensors are able to operate for years without maintenance, gathering and sending essential information that could help save lives and cut costs, not only on bridges, but also in buildings, vehicles and mechanical equipment.

34 32 30 28 26 24 22 20 18 16 14 12 10 8 6 4 2 0

Energy Requirement Example: TI eZ420-RF2500 (0.26 mJ/Transmission)

0 0.05 0.1 0.15 0.2 0.25 0.3 0.35 0.4 0.45 0.5 0.55 0.6 0.65 0.7 0.75 0.8 0.85 0.9 0.95 1 1.05

Acceleration (grms) Energy accumulation vs. input vibration amplitude

Another advantage of using a modern, ultralow-power microcontroller is the ability to wake up from standby and shut down almost instantly. In particular, the MSP430 MCU consumes very little power during active operation, a negligible 0.5 µA in standby mode and can wake-up from standby in less than a microsecond. The MSP430 MCU’s mixed-signal integration helps reduce AdaptivEnergy’s overall component count, allowing improved data monitoring and processing performance while reducing cost and time-to-market. After comparing the performance and price of a number of different alternatives, AdaptivEnergy selected TI’s MSP430 MCU and RF transceiver chipset due to their ability to provide as much processing and transmission capability as posAUGUST 2008

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portable power

sible from the potentially low-level charge generated and stored by the energy harvester. Figures 1 and 2 compare energy accumulation and recovery time with input vibration amplitude.

figure 2 Energy Recovery Time vs. Input Vibration Amplitude (Capacitive Storage Version, Following Full Discharge of ET=3.9 mJ)

40

Energy Recovery Time (s)

35 30 25 20 15 10 5 0

nd

er exploration ether your goal speak directly ical page, the ght resource. technology, es and products

0

0.1

0.2

0.3

0.4

0.5 0.6 0.7 Acceleration (grms)

0.8

0.9

1

1.1

Energy recovery time vs. input vibration amplitude

Sensor-transmitters powered by harvested energy are key to providing low-cost ambient intelligence that can sense, monitor and report conditions in factories, offices, vehicles, residences, shopping malls, traffic centers—in short, virtually all types of human environments and some natural ones, as well. Out of companies providing solutions now thethehundreds of from millions of wireless sensor exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research latest datasheet a company, each year, alevel steadily increasing mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touchnodes with theinstalled right resource. Whichever of gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you arenumber searching for. are being powered by harvesting the onnected energy of motion. Structural monitoring is important not only in bridges, but also in constructions such as high-rise buildings and stadiums where undetected fatigue in uprights and beams can lead to disaster. In factory motors and other machinery, the sensors could alert personnel of wornout bearings and other problems that require maintenance, thus predicting failure, helping to avert costly breakdowns and aiding in extending the life of equipment. Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. The potential rewards are high: equipment www.portabledesign.com/getconnected industry sources estimate that preventive main-

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End of Article

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PORTABLE DESIGN

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

tenance through asset monitoring can save tens of billions of dollars annually—perhaps as much as five percent of the more than $1.3 trillion that is spent every year in the U.S. for mechanical maintenance. Other savings come from greater power efficiency in operation, less frequent replacement of machinery, and savings in unproductive time in the factory when equipment is down. In automobiles, wireless sensors powered by vibration could extend safety features while helping to reduce some of the 300 to 500 pounds of wiring that go into every car that rolls off the assembly line. Vibration-powered tire pressure monitoring systems would eliminate the need for the batteries used in the current systems. As important as energy harvesting sensors can be in cars and trucks, they may matter even more to the aviation industry. Along with other functions, the sensors enable monitoring the integrity of an aircraft frame for safety, even from concealed or remote spaces that are largely inaccessible, or where temperatures are extreme. Every foot of wiring in a commercial plane costs some $2,000 for installation and lifetime maintenance—not including the fuel to carry it or the batteries that might serve as an alternative. By eliminating wiring and batteries, vibrationpowered sensors with wireless transmission can save a lot of money for a cost-conscious industry, where it is vital to keep weight, space and fuel consumption to a minimum. The movement that Joule-Thief uses to capture energy can come from motion sources other than mechanical vibration, such as pressure or air flow; and the output can be used to power sensors for temperature, chemistry, light, humidity and other environmental conditions besides vibration. Building automation enabled by the sensors could cut energy costs while making homes and workplaces greener and more comfortable. Railroad cars and shipping containers can use vibration-powered devices as a form of active radio frequency identification (RFID) to aid in tracking. Ultimately the technology may be employed in human apparel to reduce the number of batteries we carry—an application that would be especially important for lightening the load of soldiers on the battlefield. In addition, AdaptivEnergy has entered into a strategic agreement with In-Q-Tel, a company that identifies innovative technology to support the


High-Efficiency Energy Harvesting

At the heart of the Joule-Thief technology is a piezoceramic Smart Energy Beam that responds to movement, then transduces vibrations into energy that can be stored for later use. AdaptivEnergy’s RLP (Ruggedized Laminated Piezo) technology pre-stresses the piezoceramic material, enabling a higher ratio of power to size and weight than with non-stressed ceramics. An advanced polyimide process for bonding the ceramic to a metallic substrate allows four to ten times more strain to be applied to the ceramic, which leads to increased electric power. RLP technology also makes the beam sensitive to movements that are imperceptible to the human hand and permits it to gather energy efficiently over a wide vibration frequency spectrum. Because Joule-Thief energy beams are scalable, they can be manufactured in variable lengths and widths, depending on the power demanded by the application. For collecting the energy generated, AdaptivEnergy has developed electronics that are much more efficient than traditional rectification and capacitor storage techniques, allowing for power buffering over many hours, if necessary, even in mechanically quiet environments. The DC output from the device can also be fed to battery-charging circuitry if the application demands greater energy storage.

Ultra-Low-Power Control and Transmission

Complementing the RLP Smart Energy Beam and collection electronics is active intelligence and communications based on a chipset consisting of an MSP430F2274 MCU and a CC2500 RF transceiver. The CC2500 RF transceivers operate in the 2.4 GHz range for reliable, low-cost digital wireless applications. The MSP430 MCU consumes very little power during active operation and in standby mode. Figure 3 shows the overall system. A fast wake-up from standby mode of less than a microsecond provides rapid response, and system-on-chip (SoC) integration helped AdaptivEnergy save space and board costs while enabling a maintenance-free wireless sensor that is suitable for a wide range of ambient intelligence applications. Integrated analog-to-digital

portable power

mission of the U.S. intelligence community, so that intelligence gathering applications may be developed as well.

converters (ADCs) and pulse-width-modulated (PWM) outputs simplified AdaptivEnergy design when the sensor system is connected to external circuitry, while versatile clocking schemes and I/Os promote flexibility for embedded control. Flash memory makes it easy to develop and upgrade algorithms and control software, not only for sensing and communications, but also for other functions if the sensor-transmitter is used as part of a larger system.

figure 3

MSP430

Joule-Thief Energy Harvesting Device Powers All Sensor(s) and the eZ430-RF2500

CC2500

eZ430-RF2500

Sensor(s)

CC2500

MSP430

eZ430-RF2500

Sensed Signal

PC Signal Displayed on PC

Joule-Thief demo kit block diagram

Energy harvesting is an important emerging area of power technology that can provide not only for large-scale needs through wind and solar systems, but also for smaller-scale needs such as sensors by using the vibrations inherent in structures, vehicles and machinery to create power that can drive sensors while eliminating the need for wires and batteries. The approach described in this article enables more pervasive ambient intelligence to promote safety and reliability while reducing weight, space and the costs of installation and maintenance in a wide variety of application areas. AdaptivEnergy Hampton, VA. (757) 320-1360. [www.adaptivenergy.com].

AUGUST 2008

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technology focus touchscreens

The Evolution of Touchscreens in Portable Consumer Electronics Touchscreen technology has come a long way from the original PalmPilot to today’s 3G iPhone.

by Darrin Vallis, Director, Touchscreen Solutions, Cypress Semiconductor

I

In 1997, the Motorola Startac and PalmPilot were state-of-the-art consumer electronics for the mobile professional (Figure 1). They were superb tools for staying in touch with customers, managing your calendar and organizing contacts. Many Portable Information Managers or Electronic Organizers were developed in the 1980s, but did not achieve mass market acceptance. Problematic user interfaces were the main issue. Apple CEO John Sculley introduced the Newton “Personal Digital Assistant” at CES in 1992, but its high price, somewhat large size and troublesome handwriting recognition limited sales. Finally, in 1996 US Robotics released the first PalmPilot PDA. It combined a touchscreen, handwriting recognition and intuitive user interface in a small form factor with excellent battery life. This first successful implementation of a PDA demonstrated the true utility of touchscreens in portable consumer electronics.

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figure 1

Motorola Startac and PalmPilot

Resistive touchscreens used on the PalmPilot still had their issues. The screen would sometimes lose alignment and not recognize touch positions correctly, requiring a recalibration. Display brightness was somewhat dimmed by the touchscreen transparency. Also, the screen


figure 2

Research In Motion BlackBerry 850

Some companies approached the user interface problem from other angles, and succeeded. Research In Motion released their BlackBerry 850 in 1998 (Figure 2). It was a unique combination of wireless-connected e-mail with builtin PDA functionality. The keyboard was small, but very ergonomic, and turned out to be ideal for quickly typing email. As well, the operating system and applications were well designed, with excellent integration and usability. In fact, RIM’s e-mail application was licensed by Nokia, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Siemens, HTC and QTeck for their own cell phone designs. RIM went on to enter the handset market with a portfolio of increasingly sophisticated smart phones, and eventually claimed the #1 market share. Further evolution in semiconductors, LCDs, batteries and material technology brought remarkable products to market. Motorola’s 2004 Razr is a prime example (Figure 3). The impossibly slim, stylish design was an instant success, selling over 50 million units in just two years, and is still popular today. Still, the Razr was a poor substitute for calendar or address book applications. Anyone trying to type a significant amount of text with a phone keypad has experienced this issue. Once again, user interface was the limiting factor for portable device functionality. Meanwhile, cell phone manufacturers were still testing the market with various user inter-

technology focus

could suffer failures over time due to mechanical flexing of the top layer.

faces. Palm continued to incorporate resistive touchscreens with their Tungsten, Zire and Treo models. The Sony Ericsson P800 (2002), Motorola A780 (2003), BENQ P30 (2004) and AT&T 8525 (2006) also tried resistive touchscreens. Swedish manufacturer Neonode launched the N1 phone in 2004 with an IR optical touchscreen. Each phone had its high points, but none significantly changed the industry. In late 2006, LG released their first touchscreen phone, the Prada (Figure 4). Originally available in tri-band GSM for the European market, the Prada had a unique industrial design enabled by capacitive touchscreen technology. Known as “Projected Capacitive,” this type of touchscreen uses indium-tin-oxide (ITO) transparent metallic sensing elements deposited on a glass or film substrate. The result is a very rigid, scratch resistant, highly transparent touchscreen with excellent accuracy and no need for calibration. In addition, projected capacitive technology also enables multi-touch, an important feature for portable electronics user interfaces. Consumer demand for this new “look and feel” was clear, with LG selling over 800,000 Prada phones in 2007. In June 2007, Apple entered the smart phone market with their much anticipated iPhone

figure 3

Motorola Razr V3

AUGUST 2008

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technology focus

figure 4

nd LG KE850 Prada Phone

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figure 5

ed

companies providing solutions now

exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

onnected

(Figure 5). The instantly recognizable sleek and minimalist industrial design was realized with capacitive touchscreen technology. Apple showcased the true possibilities for touchscreen-enabled consumer electronics with their highly integrated suite of applications. The entire front surface of the device became a reconfigurable, context-sensitive, multi-touch user interface. Driven by Apples’ formidable marketing machine, iPhone became an overnight phenomenon, with people lining up for hours or even days to purchase the device. iPhone coverage was in magazines, newspaper, blogs, TV and innumerable Web articles. By May of 2008, sales reached more than 5 million units. Capacitive touchscreen technology was now the de-facto gold standard for portable consumer electronics. Bases on the success of LG and Apple, we can expect to see many more capacitive touchscreen designs from major manufacturers of cell phones, GPS and MP3 players. iSupply predicts the market for these portable touchscreen enabled devices will grow from 330 million units in 2008 to 800 million units in 2013. Projected capacitive market share is expected to grow from 10% to 16% of over the same period, with the remainder being resistive touchscreens. These numbers may still be conservative. Forecasts for the growth of projected capacitive touchscreens have been higher each year since 2006, supported by the market success of devices using this technology. Projected capacitive touchscreens are here to stay for portable consumer electronics. The 2008 Christmas season will doubtless reveal many new products from major manufacturers. Cypress Semiconductor San Jose, CA. (408) 943-2600. [www.cypress.com].

End of Article Get Connected

with companies mentioned in this article. www.portabledesign.com/getconnected

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PORTABLE DESIGN

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

Apple iPhone


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Innovation in Advanced Design and Manufacturing Starts Here EXPOSITION:

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product feature 45nm ASIC with Zero Mask Charges eASIC’s Nextreme-2 Family aims to “reverse the decline of worldwide ASIC design starts.”

by John Donovan, Editor-in-Chief figure 1

figure 2

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PORTABLE DESIGN

It was the “zero mask charges” claim that got my attention. This wasn’t the usual marketing pitch from an FPGA house, but a bold claim from an ASIC vendor. With mask costs for a 7-10 layer metal ASIC running to the tens of millions of dollars, the word “re-spin” strikes fear in the heart of SoC designers. According to Bryan Lewis, Research VP at Gartner, “Leadingedge ASIC design costs have risen to the point where many small- to medium-sized companies have no choice but to use FPGAs.” Mask costs are one part of the picture, long development timelines are another. ASICs have refused to die because they’re a lot faster than FPGAs and far less power hungry. Or at least they used to be. SRAM-based FPGAs are fast enough for almost any application now, and flash-based FPGAs have largely solved the power problem; still, it’s hard to have it both ways. Structured ASICs stay alive in the middle ground between standard-cell ASICs and FPGAs, competing with ASSPs. But if you need the fastest, smallest, least power hungry processor, it’s hard to avoid ASICs—unless you’re lacking the time, the money and the certainty that your design will survive market changes long enough to justify the expense. eASIC claims to have solved all three problems, cutting design time—from RTL to verified gate-level netlists—to 4-10 weeks, and manufacturing time—from GDSII to volume production—to about six weeks. The manufacturing side is where it gets interesting. The Nextreme-2 Family is manufactured on Chartered Semiconductor’s 45nm low-power (LP) process and built around an efficient LUT-based architecture. The logic fabric provides up to 700 MHz performance enabling signal processing engineers with 2.4 TeraMACs of DSP capability without the need for embedded multipliers. eASIC’s “secret sauce” is configurable vias. In classic structured ASIC fashion, wafers are pre-processed and stored in a wafer bank, awaiting customization. These wafers are processed all the way up to Metal 6, and hence all layers from silicon through Metal 6 are generic for all designs. But unlike with other structured ASICS, which require separate masks for the top several layers, a single via layer—Via 6—is then used to customize each design’s routing, I/Os and cell types (Logic, SRAM, or PLD). This customization is done without masks by using an electron-beam (e-beam), so subsequent changes just require software updates. eASIC is reasonably pushing their process as a “platform for ASSPs.” Since via layers occupy 30 times less area than metal layers, maskless customization using direct-write e-beam technology can proceed 10 times faster. Maskless e-beam technology is ideal for prototyping as well as low- to midvolume production because it eliminates NRE cost and shortens time-to-market.

The combination of triple-oxide transistors, 45nm LP process and eASIC’s patented powermanagement architecture, enables Nextreme-2 to lower power consumption by up to 80 percent when compared with SRAM-based FPGAs, making them an attractive option in applications with stringent power budgets. The Nextreme-2 Family includes up to 56 MGIOs (multi-Gigabit IOs), each capable of operating at 6.5 Gbits/s while providing 364 Gbit/s bandwidth. The inclusion of the MGIOs makes Nextreme-2 a compelling alternative to FPGAs and ASICs for high-performance networking applications such as switches, routers, traffic management, metro transmission and mobile backhaul. Nextreme-2 delivers ASIC performance with rapid turnaround time and low up-front cost. Far from being a startup, eASIC was founded in 1999 by Zvi Or-Bach, the founder of ChipExpress (later ChipX), a pioneering structured ASIC company. eASIC’s founding idea was an e-beam (‘maskless’) structured ASIC. The idea was sound but the market never really took off because FPGAs just kept getting faster and cheaper, to the point where they dominated the small- to mid-volume market (<10K units) that structured ASICs were targeting. eASIC’s real breakthrough comes with the introduction of their Nextreme-2 family at 45 nm, where they stopped using an SRAM-based fabric and switched to programmable vias; this gave them the “80 percent lower power” they claim vs. SRAM-based FPGAs. It also puts them toe to toe with flash-based FPGAs, where they compete well on both price and performance. eASIC positions themselves as the catalyst for a resurgence of ASIC starts, which is a fun way to poke a finger in the eye of the FPGA houses. But they’re also well positioned to play Pac Man with the low end of the standardcell ASIC market. Their approach is technically clever and certain to wrest some design wins from the FPGA crowd, at the same time enabling IDMs to avoid the time and expense of going the full custom ASIC route. It’s cute but not entirely accurate to call what eASIC is doing, in their words, “The Return of the ASIC!” But it certainly is “The Return of the Structured ASIC!” For both technical expertise as well as chutzpah, Portable Design has selected eASIC’s Nextreme-2 Family as our August Featured Product of the month.


portabledesign conference & exhibition Power Management for a Wireless World Featuring

Keynote Speakers James Cathey

V.P., QUALCOMM MEMS Technologies “Leading the Charge on Power: Defining Technology Needs of the Future”

Rodd Novak

V.P., Peregrine Semiconductor “Integration Strategies for Mobile & Wireless RF Front-Ends”

Conference sessions, Analyst Presentations and Panel Discussions on designing and powering portable, low-power wireless consumer devices. Complimentary Registration Keynotes Panel Discussions Technical Seminars Exhibition Lunch Networking Reception

September 18, 2008 San Jose, California Wyndham Hotel

Attend for free. Register now. www.portabledesignconference.com sponsored by


products for designers 1.6 Gbit/s DDR3 Solution for 65nm SoCs Virage Logic Corporation has announced the broadening of its Intelli DDR memory interface product portfolio with the introduction of Intelli DDR3, a high-performance memory interface solution that supports speeds up to 1.6 Gbit/s. Comprising a DRAM memory controller, digital PHY, DLL, and I/O, Intelli DDR3 provides a true System Aware IP solution that is able to mitigate and manage the high-speed interconnect effects that must be addressed at the package as well as board level. Intelli DDR3 addresses the system-level impact on high-speed IP interfaces, such as DDR interfaces. The Intelli DDR3 System Aware IP offering is capable of managing the impact of the environment—SoC core-to-interface, interface-topackage, package-to-board—on the system behavior and performance. Intelli DDR3’s unique digital architecture and system intelligence helps manage the variables inherent in system designs, easing implementation and optimizing integration with existing board and package designs. The standard cell architecture and all-digital implementation enables the Intelli DDR3 solution to work seamlessly with digital SoC design flows, allowing significant ease of portability to any process node for any foundry, eliminating the need to prove the solution when integrated with silicon proven I/Os. A versatile solution for lower power in a broad range of high-performance applications including networking, video, graphics, storage, test and measurement, and portable electronics, the innovative Intelli DDR3 solution utilizes Virage Logic’s unique patent-pending digital DLL architecture, enabling it to achieve the high resolution required to support data rates up to 1.6 Gbit/s on 65nm G processes. The Intelli DDR3’s advanced architecture allows much higher data throughput efficiency than previously available architectures. Such high efficiencies enable designs to operate at lower frequencies, resulting in lower power consumption and bill of materials costs that translate to lower system costs.

Virage Logic Corporation, Fremont, CA. (510) 360-8000. [www.viragelogic.com].

SerDes Solution with VScope Waveform Viewing Technology Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation has announced the VSC3441, a 6.375 Gbit/s multi-rate Serialization/De-serialization (SerDes) transceiver device. As the most advanced, high-speed SerDes solution available today, Vitesse’s VSC3441 device operates at selected data rates from 125 Mbits/s to 6.375 Gbits/s and incorporates advanced equalization to compensate for various impairments and losses encountered in copper cables and backplane traces and connectors. Further adding to the robust feature set of this transceiver is the unique combination of integrated technologies: SerDes, Clock and Data Recovery (CDR) and advanced signal equalization. The VSC3441 is also the first high-speed SerDes to incorporate Vitesse’s breakthrough VScope waveform viewing technology which enables a real-time oscilloscope view of the received data, thus providing telemetry of high-speed signals. The VSC3441 provides OEMs a significant new tool that allows them to serialize data to higher rates for simplified transmission through legacy backplanes or cable interconnects. This is achieved by compensating for the signal path degradation which, in turn, improves the signal integrity performance of the transmission. The integrated VScope waveform viewing technology is then used by OEMs for real-time system diagnostics and remote monitoring functions in these applications. The result: a state-of-the-art signal integrity solution that extends the use of existing ASICs and FPGAs with slower speed interfaces. General samples of VSC3441 devices will be available in the fourth quarter of 2008. The VSC3441 is priced at $32 in volume quantities and is available in a 196-pin, 15 mm x 15 mm flip chip ball grid array (FCBGA) package. Vitesse Semiconductor Corporation, Camarillo, CA. (805) 388-3700. [www.vitesse.com].

TI Rolls out Low-Power Processor Roadmap Placing a notable stake in the ground, Texas Instruments today introduced its low-power processor roadmap with more than 15 new multi-architecture devices across four product lines. According to John Dixon, Low Power Processor Product Line Manager at TI, designers will be able to bring portability to applications requiring the high precision and fast time-to-market provided by floating-point processors, as TI’s new roadmap includes the industry’s lowest power floating-point digital signal processors (DSPs). TI’s new devices also enable maximum battery life with the industry’s lowest power fixed-point DSP. Customers will also have the option to design portability and graphical user interfaces (GUI) into their products using TI’s new ARM9 and ARM9-plus-DSP system-on-chips (SoCs). The types of products that benefit most from very low power fall into three general power budget categories. First are those that draw their power from another source, but need low power for USB connectivity or low heat dissipation. Next are devices where consumers expect batteries to last an entire work day and the third category are devices that consumers expect to function for two or more weeks without a battery change. Throughout the next 12 months, TI will offer an embedded process solution for each of these power categories with more than 15 new devices within four product lines. Low power and high precision with new TMS320C674x DSPs: Developers will have the ability to bring portability to audio, medical, industrial and other applications requiring the precision, wide dynamic range and time-to-market benefits of floating-point DSPs. Using three times less power than existing floating-point DSPs, the C674x devices deliver 24-32 bit accuracy and are the industry’s lowest power floating-point DSPs. Slated for delivery in Q4 2008, the power consumption ranges from 8 mW in standby mode to 385 mW total power. High performance at half the power with TMS320C640x DSPs: The C640x DSPs use half the power of existing high performance devices in TI’s TMS320C6000 DSP platform, giving system designers the ability to add portability to processing-intensive applications including software defined radio, industrial instrumentation and emerging markets. Based on TI’s high-performance C64+ core, the devices offer power consumption as low as 0.125 mW/MMAC and performance up to 2400 MMACs. Through pin-for-pin and software compatibility with various OMAP-L1x and C674x products, the C640x processors offer a new level of scalability and will be available in early 2009. Multimedia performance and low power with OMAP-L1x SoCs: Enabling developers to integrate feature-rich GUIs into their portable designs, the new OMAP-L1x product line includes ARM9 and ARM9-plus-DSP architectures. The six new devices will offer a variety of peripherals for networking, and will run Linux or the DSP/ BIOS real-time kernel for operating system flexibility. The product line is also pin-for-pin compatible with various devices in the new C674x and C640x product lines. Power consumption ranges from 8 mW in standby to 400 mW total power, and the devices will be available in early 2009. Maximum battery life with TMS320C550x: For developers requiring the longest battery life, TI will be extending its TMS320C5000 DSP platform with new C550x devices. The new DSPs include large on-chip memory as well as an optimized FFT/FIR coprocessor for faster analysis, and still cut power consumption levels to 0.34 mW in standby and 18/46 mW at 60/100 MHz - half the power of existing C5000 devices. Applications such as multi-parameter medical, noise reduction headphones and portable audio/music recording will benefit from the performance, peripherals and security scheme of the C550x DSPs. Silicon and associated software and tools will begin sampling in Q4 2008 and will roll out throughout the next twelve months. Prices will vary by device but will start at less than $9 (100 units).

Texas Instruments Inc., Dallas, TX. (800) 336-5236. [www.ti.com].

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PORTABLE DESIGN


Software Configurable Processor and Camera Reference Design Kit

National Instruments has announced a new RF vector signal analyzer, RF vector signal generator and PXI Express 18-slot chassis that offer flexible RF measurements up to 10 times faster than traditional RF instrumentation. The new software-defined modular instruments – the NI PXIe-5663 6.6 GHz RF vector signal analyzer and the NI PXIe-5673 6.6 GHz RF vector signal generator – are complemented by the NI PXIe-1075 18-slot high-bandwidth chassis. The NI PXIe-5663 can perform signal analysis from 10 MHz to 6.6 GHz with up to 50 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. The NI PXIe-5673 delivers signal generation from 85 MHz to 6.6 GHz and up to 100 MHz of instantaneous bandwidth. The NI PX Ie-1075 is the industry’s first PXI Express chassis with PCI Express lanes routed to every slot providing up to 1 Gbyte/s per-slot bandwidth and up to 4 Gbytes/s total system bandwidth. The new RF modular instruments, which take full advantage of highperformance multicore processors, are ideal for high-¬speed RF and wireless automated test environments. With LabVIEW 8.6 to implement parallel measurement algorithms on multicore CPUs, engineers can use the new RF vector signal analyzer and RF vector signal generator to perform many common RF measurements significantly faster than traditional instruments. For example, the RF modular instruments can perform many individual WCDMA measurements more than 20 times faster than traditional instruments. With the ability to implement measurements such as adjacent-channel leakage ratio (ACLR) in only 8 ms, engineers can perform full WCDMA device characterizations up to five times faster. In addition to performance, the new RF modular instruments offer industry-leading measurement flexibility through a completely softwaredefined architecture. Engineers can develop and test wireless protocols by simply reconfiguring the software using standard-specific LabVIEW toolkits or writing their own custom modulation algorithms. NI and National Instruments Alliance Partners provide toolkits based on LabVIEW for many current and emerging communications technologies, including WiMAX, GPS, WCDMA, GSM, EDGE, broadcast video, 802.11, Bluetooth, OFDM and M IMO. In addition, engineers can integrate PX I RF instrumentation with more than 1,500 PX I modules including high-speed digitizers, signal generators and precision DC instruments to meet their complete test needs. The new 6.6 GHz modular instruments achieve these new levels of performance using the latest commercial technologies including 16-bit digital-to-analog converters and analog-to-digital converters used to generate and digitize signals for superior dynamic performance. The NI PXIe-5673 RF vector signal generator uses direct RF upconversion to provide up to 100 MHz of RF bandwidth. Using an additional “impairments mode,” engineers can take advantage of an onboard field-programmable gate array (FPGA) to manually adjust the gain imbalance, IQ offsets and quadrature skew quickly. With baseband impairments optimized for a particular frequency, engineers can achieve better than -85 dBc of carrier and image suppression. The NI PXIe-5663 RF vector signal analyzer offers passband flatness and low phase noise so it can accurately measure modulated signals. For example, typical EVM performance for WCDMA is 0.8 percent at 2 GHz for more than 2,600 symbols. Additionally, typical EVM performance for WiMAX is -52 dB at 3.8 GHz. The NI PXIe-5663 vector signal analyzer is priced from $22,999; the NI PX Ie-5673 vector signal generator from $23,999; the NI PXIe-1075 chassis from $5,999.

Stretch Inc. has announced the newest member of its S6000 family of software configurable processors. The Stretch S6106 software configurable processor features low operating power and an ultra compact 17 mm X 17 mm plastic ball grid array package that allows it to be used in space and power-constrained applications. Featured in Stretch’s new S6106 IP Camera Reference Design Kit, the S6106 is capable of multi-stream H.264 encoding and embedded video analytics. At the heart of the S6106 is the same S6 SCP Engine used in all S6000 family devices. The inclusion of Stretch’s second generation Instruction Set Extension Fabric (ISEF) and highly optimized Programmable Accelerator gives the device unparalleled processing capability while retaining a small footprint and low power consumption. With two S6000 family high speed data ports, as well as a gigabit Ethernet port and an array of low-speed inter faces, the S6106 is ideal for high per formance video processing and embedded applications. It is capable of encoding two H.264 streams at 30 fps, or simultaneously per forming video analytics and a single stream of standard definition H.264 encoding. The S6106 IP Camera Reference Design Kit (RDK) comes in a very small form factor 32 mm x 177 mm box format. It employs Pixim’s latest generation image sensor module for wide dynamic range and small size. Like all Stretch video surveillance solutions, the S6106 IP Camera uses the Stretch Intelligent Encoder delivering video analytics, Constant Quality encoding, and dynamic control of the encoded bit stream to minimize network bandwidth. The S6106 IP Camera RDK capitalizes on the flexibility afforded by Stretch’s software defined architecture and will remain compatible with future CODEC plug-ins such as H.264SVC, the scalable video extension to the H.264 standard. In addition to being a full-featured production-ready IP camera design, the S6106 IP Camera Reference Design Kit forms a modular and highly flexible development platform for S6106 based designs. It is compatible with the same development environment and debug tools used throughout the Stretch product line and is available in both evaluation and fully licensed versions.

Stretch, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 543-2700. [www.stretchinc.com].

National Instruments, Austin, TX. (888) 280-7645. [www.ni.com].

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6.6 GHz PXI Express RF Vector Signal Analyzer and Vector Signal Generator


products for designers

SPDT RF Switch Delivers High Linearity, Fast Settling Time for ATE, Transceiver Applications Peregrine Semiconductor Corporation has announced the new PE42552 SPDT 50-Ohm RF Switch, designed for use in Test and Measurement (T&M) applications requiring ultra-linear RF performance and ultra-fast settling time, such as Automated Test Equipment (ATE), RF/ IF transceiver signal switching, filter bank switching and discrete digital step attenuator (DSA) stages. Integrated CMOS control logic, driven by a single-pin, low-voltage CMOS control input, features a novel user-defined logic table. Further, the device includes a logic-select pin which inverts logic polarity for backto-back switching applications, changing the logic definition of the control pin. The PE42552, designed on Peregrine’s HaRP-enhanced UltraCMOS silicon-on-sapphire process technology, maintains excellent broadband RF performance from 9 kHz up to 7.5 GHz without gate lag and phase drift, and ensures fast switch-settling time. This innovative feature of the UltraCMOS process provides best-in-class linearity and superior performance to GaAs with the economy an integration of conventional CMOS. “The PE42552 delivers the industry’s fastest settling time and the highest linearity performance available in a RF broadband solid state switch,” stated Mark Schrepferman, product marketing director for commercial and industrial products. “These attributes make the PE42552 a tremendous tool for extreme performance environments such as the test equipment market,” he added. The PE42552 exhibits outstanding isolation of 47 dB (3.0 GHz) and approaching 30 dB at 7.5 GHz; high ESD tolerance of 1.0 kV HBM on all ports; and IIP3 of +65 dBm. The device, offered in the RoHS¬-compliant 16-lead 3 x 3 x 0.75 mm QFN package, is available for sampling in July 2008 and is priced in volume at $3.34 (100Ku). Peregrine Semiconductor, San Diego, CA. (858) 731-9400. [www.psemi.com].

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Economy Microwave Spectrum Analyzers Anritsu Company has introduced new options for its MS271xB series that take advantage of the economy microwave spectrum analyzers’ best-in-class phase noise of -110 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset (typical, 800 MHz) and make it easier to integrate the instruments into legacy manufacturing environments. The MS271xB series has been designed to accurately measure the performance of wireless broadband components and devices, increase production yields, and lower the cost of production test. Running on an external PC, the software controls any of the economy microwave spectrum analyzers via an Ethernet or GPIB interface and combines multiple swept measurements into summary displays of phase noise performance. It provides multiple phase noise trace plots on the same scale, in different colors. Phase noise plots can be smoothed and compared with user-created limit lines. The software also allows source jitter measurements to be displayed in seconds, degrees, or Hz. The method in which the data is collected and displayed by the software makes it easier for wireless broadband designers and troubleshooters to predict system EVM and BER. Anritsu has also enhanced the MS271xB series with a GPIB interface, which allows the economy microwave spectrum analyzers to be easily integrated into legacy manufacturing test systems. A new front panel USB connector facilitates connection of flash drives. Covering the 9 kHz to 7.1, 13 and 20 GHz ranges, the MS271xB family meets most RF and microwave spectrum analyzer requirements. The excellent phase noise performance allows the instruments to measure most wireless local oscillators and synthesizers, while their superior dynamic range of 100 dB results in fast and precise testing of wireless components that require exceptional linearity. Designed with a 10 MHz demodulation bandwidth, the MS271xB family supports GSM, CDMA, W-CDMA, W-CDMA/ HSDPA, EVDO and WiMAX measurements, in addition to TD-SCDMA. Anritsu Company, Richardson, TX. (972) 644-1777. [www.us.anritsu.com].

8/18/08 12:11:45 PM


USB/AC Load-Sharing Li-Ion/Li-Polymer Battery Charger

Advanced Analogic Technologies, Inc. has announced the AAT2782 and AAT2783, two new power management ICs (PMICs) for portable applications. Combining two step-down converters with a low VIN LDO, these new devices can be used to power both traditional power management functions and noise-sensitive circuits without compromising power efficiency. The AAT2782 and AAT2783 operate off a 2.7V to 5.5V input range and provide three independently regulated DC outputs: two step-down converters and one low input voltage LDO. The two step-down converters on the AAT2782 deliver 1200 mA and 600 mA respectively. On the AAT2783 the two step-down converters supply 1000 mA and 400 mA. On each IC both converters use current mode control to ensure fast transient response and stable operation across the entire operating range. A 1.3 MHz switching frequency supports the use of small external filters. The low input voltage LDO on both devices is optimized for low noise operation. Designed to operate off a 1.7V input, the LDO delivers up to 400 mA with a -80 dB power supply rejection ratio (PSRR) and 65 µVRMS output noise with an optional bypass capacitor. The LDO’s output voltage is factory set at 1.2V. The step-down converters on both devices offer high efficiency rates. Using the LDO to post-regulate the output of the second step-down converter for low-noise operation, both devices achieve efficiency levels up to 80 percent. Total quiescent current is 170 µA for the AAT2782 and 135 µA for the AAT2783. Both devices feature 200 µs internal soft start and over-temperature protection. Qualified across the -40° to +85°C temperature range, the AAT2782 and AAT2783 are available in a Pb-free, 16-pin, TDFN package. The ICs sell for $1.93 and $1.93 respectively in 1K quantities.

Microchip Technology Inc. has announced the MCP73871 charge-management controller—a Li-Ion/Li-Polymer charger with an intelligent charge management feature that enables simultaneous AC-DC-adapter or USB-port charging and powering of devices. The singlechip charger features an integrated pass transistor, and numerous battery and termination-voltage options—making it ideal for complex, space-constrained portable applications. By enabling electronic devices to be simultaneously powered and charged via either an AC-to-DC adapter or through a USB port, the MCP73871 charge-management controller simplifies the charging and powering of today’s portable electronic devices. With highly accurate voltage regulation of 0.5%, the new charger extends battery life by allowing the battery to be charged closer to its optimal limit. Additionally, with its integrated pass transistor, the charger eliminates the need for an external FET, and only a few small passive components are necessary. This results in smaller, less complex and less expensive designs. The MCP73871 charge-management controller is ideal for portable consumer electronic products, such as GPS units, phone chargers, toys, cameras, PDAs, Bluetooth headsets, and many more. The MCP73871 charger is available in a 20-pin, 4 mm x 4 mm QFN package, for $1.28 each in 10,000-unit quantities.

Microchip Technology Inc., Chandler, AZ. (480) 792-7200. [www.microchip.com].

Advanced Analogic Technologies, Inc. Santa Clara, CA. (408) 737-4600. [www.analogictech.com].

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products for designers

PMICs Combine Two Step-down Converters with Low VIN LDO


Thermal & Flow Software Tools for IC Package Modeling Daat Research Corp. announces the addition of powerful tools for modeling IC packages into its Coolit v.8 CFD thermal analysis software. The tools build detailed parametric chip models that can be converted to compact models, and the user can switch between detailed and compact models as desired. Included is a library of hundreds of popular Ball Grid Arrays (BGA), Dual Inline Packages (DIP) and Quad flat Packages (QFP). The user can copy and modify the models, or add new models to the library. Coolit v.8 also delivers many improvements in algorithms for computation and presentation of results. Coolit v.8 is now shipping.

Wind River Success in Device Software Optimization (DSO) requires many things: the right tools, the right standards, the right support. But it should never require a leap of faith in your vendor. Look to the

Daat, Hanover, NH. (603) 643-2999. [www.daat.com].

company that earns your trust every day. The company with proven platforms, more than 25 years of experience, 300 million deployed devices,

Ultra-Low-Power Secure Supervisor with 64 Bytes of Memory and Tamper-Detection Circuitry

a world-class partner ecosystem, and global services and support. The DSO leader. Wind River.

Learn more. Visit www.windriver.com/solutions

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the DS3655, a secure battery-backup controller and supervisor with temperature and voltage monitoring. This is the industry’s only ultra-lowpower single-chip device to integrate a battery-backup controller, system power monitor, CPU supervisor, elapsed-time counter, temperature sensor, and tamper-detection comparator inputs. The high integration and advanced security features of the DS3655 make it ideal for point-of-sale (POS) terminals, the payment card industry (PCI), software-defined radios (SDRs), and other equipment in which data protection and security is critical. The DS3655 has tamper-detection comparator inputs that interface with and provide continuous, ultra-low-power monitoring of resistive anti-tamper meshes, external sensors, and digital interlocks. This secure supervisor constantly monitors primary power; in the event of failure, an external battery power source is automatically switched in to keep the device and external circuitry alive. The DS3655 also constantly monitors battery voltage and initiates a tamper response when the battery voltage becomes abnormal. To facilitate recovery analysis, the elapsed-time seconds counter freezes the value of the free-running 32-bit counter when a tamper event occurs. Additionally, the internal digital temperature sensor features userprogrammable temperature thresholds and provides a tamper response in the event of thermal attacks. Each device is inscribed with a unique, 64-bit serial number to provide a distinct ID for tracing purposes. Fully specified over the -40° to +85°C extended-industrial temperature range, the DS3655 is packaged in a leadfree, 4 mm x 4 mm, 16-ball CSBGA for added security. Maxim Integrated Products, Inc., Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 737-7600. [www.maxim-ic.com].

® 2008 Wind River Systems, Inc. The Wind River logo is a trademark, and Wind River is a registered trademark of Wind River Systems, Inc. Other marks are the property of their respective owners.

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8/19/08 2:06:36 PM


RF Subsystem for GSM/GPRS/EDGE Femtocell Base Stations, Repeaters Skyworks Solutions, Inc. has introduced the industry’s first highly integrated RF subsystem for GSM, GPRS and EDGE femtocell base stations and cellular repeaters. The RF subsystem supports femtocell base station and cellular repeaters in GSM850, EGSM900, DCS1800 and PCS1900 frequency bands. Skyworks’ new dual-chip RF subsystem solution also provides excellent linearity, blocker performance, dynamic range, and output power required by cellular operators, carriers and equipment manufacturers deploying femtocell base stations and cellular repeaters globally. Femtocells, or small cellular home base stations designed for residential and small business environments, provide enhanced indoor cellular coverage and increase overall network capacity, while at the same time lowering backhaul costs and capital expenditure. The cellular repeaters extend services in poor coverage areas by amplifying both transmit and receive signals. In addition, the repeaters reduce problems with signal fades and dropped calls while improving voice quality, service range and access. Skyworks’ RF subsystem is available now and is priced at $15.00 each in quantities of 10,000. Skyworks Solutions Inc., Woburn, MA. (781) 376-3000. [www.skyworksinc.com].

Low Input Voltage Dual LDO Family for High-Efficiency Applications Micrel Inc. has launched the MIC5313/4/5/6, a new family of low input voltage capable, low dropout regulators. The MIC5313/4/5/6 family integrates two LDOs capable of operating from an input voltage as low as 1.7V, while consuming only 37 μA total quiescent current. The MIC531x family is designed with very low dropout voltage in order to regulate from low voltage rails and provide the highest conversion efficiency possible. Each one of the dual regulator can supply up to 300mA of output current, while only consuming 37uA total quiescent current when both channels are enabled. The combination of low quiescent, low input voltage capability and low quiescent current allow the MIC531x family to be used in demanding applications that need to be powered up at all times. The MIC5313/4/5/6 product family allows use of very small ceramic output capacitors, which reduces required board space and component cost. The product family is available in fixed output voltages. In addition, this family offers high PSRR, POR, voltage scaling, fast turn-on time, current limit and thermal shutdown protection, and can operate from -40° to 125°C. The MIC5313/15 is offered in a 2 mm x 2 mm Thin MLF 10-lead, and the full featured MIC5314/16 is offered in a 2.5 mm x. 2.5 mm Thin MLF 12-lead package. The MIC5313/4/5/6 are all currently available in volume, with pricing starting at $1.29 for 1K quantities. Micrel, Inc., San Jose, CA. (408) 944-0800. [www.micrel.com].

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Precision Micropower Oscillators Offer 99.91% Accuracy Linear Technology has announced the LTC6930, a family of low power precision silicon oscillators with fixed frequencies from 32.768 kHz to 8.192 MHz. Five versions are available, each with a unique master frequency and digitally controlled frequency dividers that give 8 different frequencies per device. Frequency shifting is accomplished within a single clock cycle and without glitches, providing a powerful tool for system configuration or power management through clock-speed control. The LTC6930 has significant advantages in battery and portable applications. Drawing only 105uA at 32 kHz and requiring only a single 1.7V to 5.5V supply, the LTC6930 can operate from two unregulated NiCad batteries. Battery life is also extended, using the fast startup, where minimal power is lost during the clock power-up. Most oscillators exhibit a startup time greater than a millisecond. By contrast, the LTC6930 has a guaranteed startup time of less than 110 usec. Features of the LTC6930 include: Startup Time <110us at All Frequencies; 105uA Typical Supply Current at 32 kHz; 490uA Typical Supply Current at 8MHz; Frequency Error <0.09%, Max @ 25°C; 1.7V to 5.5V Single Supply Operation; Typical RMS Period Jitter <0.15%; No External Components Required to Set Frequency; 5 Options Cover 32kHz to 8.192MHz; -40°C to 125°C Operating Temperature Range; Tiny 2 mm × 3 mm DFN or MS8 Package. These parts are available in a compact 2x3mm DFN and an 8-lead MSOP package. All versions are in full production, with prices starting at $1.31 each in 1,000-piece quantities. Linear Technology, Milpitas, CA. (408) 432-1900. [www.linear.com].

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8/7/08 4:41:04 PM

Actel Libero IDE 8.4 Stresses Power Reduction Actel Corporation has announced new power reduction and design creation enhancements to its Libero Integrated Development Environment (IDE). Giving designers additional power supply options and enabling even lower power consumption, the new Libero IDE 8.4 offers an FPGA core operating voltage range from 1.14 to 1.575 volts for its flash-based IGLOO, IGLOO PLUS and ProASIC3L field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs). Enhancements to the SmartPower analysis tools within the Libero IDE also allow easy comparisons of multiple design scenarios and their resulting power consumption and battery life implications. For rapid and efficient design creation, the Libero IDE 8.4 also allows Actel-created or third-party intellectual property (IP) blocks, user-developed HDL modules, and glue logic functions to be easily combined in an accessible project area. The new Libero IDE 8.4 extends the FPGA core operating voltage range from 1.14 to 1.575 volts for its flash-based 1.2V IGLOO, IGLOO PLUS and ProASIC3L FPGAs, giving designers additional power supply options and enabling even lower power consumption. The Libero IDE 8.4 also includes enhanced SmartPower analysis capabilities. In the new tool suite, users can create and compare multiple user-defined power profile “scenarios,” enabling the user to test operating options to better determine the best design approach for their power-sensitive application. Offering users improved ease of use as well as a comprehensive understanding of power usage in all functional modes of the design, SmartPower also offers new graphical power consumption displays. The Actel Libero IDE Gold edition is available on Windows free of charge. The Actel Libero IDE 8.4 Platinum edition is available now on Windows and Linux platforms for $2,495. All editions are one-year renewable licenses. Actel Corporation, Mountain View, CA. (650) 318-4200. [www.actel.com].

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8/14/08 9:33:08 AM


Software-Defined Silicon Development Kit Accelerates Electronic Design XMOS Semiconductor, the creator of Software Defined Silicon, has introduced a development kit providing everything needed to develop a wide range of applications using its XS1-G4 programmable device. Designs are created using a C-based software development flow that dramatically shortens the time required to build electronic products and systems. Offering a complete hardware and software development environment, the XS1-G development kit (XDK) features the XS1-G4 target device, QVGA touch screen display, RJ45 10/100 Ethernet port, highperformance stereo audio interface and XLink connectors for connecting multiple kits together. The XS1-G4 can be booted from JTAG, an SD/MMC card or onboard SPI boot PROM. In addition to the integrated multi-media I/O, designers have access to onboard switches, status LEDs and IDC expansion ports. A set of design examples is accessible on startup through a soft-key menu system. The XS1-G4 device is programmed using Web-based XMOS development tools which include C and XC compilers, simulator and debugger. The kit includes a tutorial in XC, an XMOS-originated programming language supporting parallelism, concurrent and real-time programming using channel-based communications, and event-driven control. Programs can be evaluated using the simulator, or loaded into the XDK for hardware verification. A GDB debugger is also provided to simplify program development. At the heart of XDK, the XS1-G4 programmable chip features four XCore tiles connected by a high-performance switch, with each tile containing an XCore processor—a 400MHz 32bit event-driven processor. The four XCore tiles together execute up to 32 concurrent real-time tasks, provide 1600 MIPs, and service up to 400 million events per second. Data and code Untitled-16 is stored in 256 Kbytes of RAM and 32KBytes of ROM. Tightly coupled to a highly flexible I/O pin structure, the XCore processor can implement a range of hardware and software functions including I/O interfaces, state machines, application programs, DSP and cryptographic algorithms. XMOS devices are general-purpose programmable chips used in a wide variety of applications and systems. They are ideal for designers that need flexibility and differentiation. The unique device features and softwarebased design flow make the XS1-G product family well suited for applications such as Ethernet AV and audio, intelligent LED display control, IEEE-1588 network time keeping and chip-level security systems. Priced at $1,000 USD, the XS1-G development kit from XMOS Semiconductor is available now. XMOS Semiconductor, Bristol, UK. +44 (0)117 915 1271. [www.xmos.com].

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Catch the latest wave in EMC Shielding DeepCoat Vacuum MetalizaƟon More durable, reliable, and environmentally friendly than paint. Fence and Lid Convenience of box shielding with removable pop-top for rework. Form/Met Patented, customized board-level & enclosure shielding accommodates a variety of congs. www.wavezero.com moreinfo@wavezero.com See us at Portable Design in San Jose, California, on September 18

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7/8/08 10:49:34 AUGUST 2008 51 AM


ceo interview Dan McCranie Virage Logic

It’s tough being in the semiconductor business. Growth is slow, margins are under pressure, and fab costs are headed for the roof. Once upon a time you could knock out a design, put it in your catalog and take orders. Now to make a sale you have to practically design the whole product for your customer, handing them the Gerber files along with the purchase order. The real value add is no longer manufacturing, it’s IP. As a semiconductor IP house, Virage Logic nd is ahead of that curve. Founded in 1995, the company has traditionally developed embeder exploration ether your goal ded memory products, more recently adding speak directly logic and I/O interface products, including ical page, the ght resource. Double Data Rate (DDR) memory controllers, technology, Physical Interfaces (PHYs) and Delay Locked es and products Loops (DLLs). Virage’s customers are primared ily foundries and large IDMs. Virage Logic’s CEO Dan McCranie sees the IP industry benefiting from both the explosion in complexity of SoC designs—where a design team just doesn’t have the time to design everything—and the trend for semiconductor comcompanies providing solutions now panies to go ‘fab light’ or fabless. The ‘whether exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, mp to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touchtowith the right resource.regarding Whichever level of buy’ decision semiconductor IP gy, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you arehas searching beenfor. replaced by ‘who to buy’. onnected Portable Design sat down recently with McCranie in his office to ask about the nature and future of the semiconductor IP industry. Not surprisingly, he was bullish about both.

End of Article Get Connected

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52

Portable Design: The semiconductor IP industry is currently growing much faster than the semiconductor industry in general. Is that a trend? And, if so, what’s driving it? McCranie: It is a trend. What’s happened in the last three or four years is the semiconductor industry has grown from $200 billion to $270

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Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

billion—about 7% compounded; the IP business is growing about double or triple that. What’s caused it more than any other thing has been the movement from fab to ‘fab light’ to fabless. Once companies start making the decision to remove themselves from their fabs, then they start making decisions about their IP. It turned out that their engineers only wanted to work on differential advantages; and, frankly, foundation IP and even hard-to-make derivative IP—which is what Virage makes—no longer made the cut. So what we’re seeing the last couple of years—and I’m sure the other IP houses are seeing—is kind of an explosion of demand primarily because the captive houses no longer wish to do it. Portable Design: New SoC designs are emerging slowly. This would seem to be where you’d sell most of your IP. How have you responded to that challenge? McCranie: SoC designs have dropped, partly because the cost of building an SoC now at 40-45 nm is rocketing up around the $40-$50M range, so the hurdle rate to make a chip has gotten a lot higher. The way to solve that is to have more IP in the chip. Virage’s original deal was primarily foundation IP around memory. They made SRAM instances and did a very good job; some of our largest customers now use upwards of thousands of instances in a single SoC. But that wasn’t sufficient if the number of SoCs is going down. So beginning in 2002 they started working on logic, and in 2003 they started working on I/O. Since I’ve been involved with the company we’ve moved it in an even broader direction: we’re going more toward RTL-based IP. The first action for that was DDR, double data rate for DRAMs. It turns out that most of these SoCs— with the exception of the wireless—are absolutely focused on communicating with DRAM. So we bought a small company in August of ’07 who was involved in Mobile DDR. We funded them; they made DDR2/3, which is 1.06 GHz transition rate. They now have announced DDR3, which is 1.6 Gbytes per second, and that is an important piece of IP. And recently we acquired a non-volatile memory house that makes non-volatile memory IP for both high-voltage and standard voltage, and it ports onto a cookie-cutter CMOS process, with no additional processes needed. Now in the future I’m looking at other pieces


of IP—both RTL and otherwise—to play around the SoC. So in summary if the number of SoCs goes down, you simply must provide more of that SoC, and that’s our charter. Portable Design: The non-volatile memory market is hot today, with a lot of big players. How does Virage Logic differentiate itself and propose to keep up with the big dogs? McCranie: There are a lot of big players, but you know most of those big players use a custom process—for instance, NAND flash, NOR flash, double-E, SONOS. All of those require relatively exotic process technologies to achieve non-volatile memory. The feature of all of Virage’s IP—including its non-volatile memory IP—is that we put that non-volatile IP in a standard CMOS logic process. So if you need to have a complete SoC and you’ve got to have some non-volatile memory elements, you don’t have to burden the rest of the chip with that process technology associated with it. That’s been our secret for the past two years. We really started slowly with non-volatile memory; 2007 was the first year it was approaching 10% of revenue. We expect in 2009 it will approach 20% of our revenue, even as our revenue grows. As I said, the biggest feature is it can be bolted onto a bulk CMOS logic process. Portable Design: Your customers include fabless semiconductor companies and IDMs. Do you sell them all the same products, or are they outsourcing some of their R&D expenses to you, asking you to develop customized architectures so they can maintain product differentiation? McCranie: The fabless houses buy our complete suite, as do the IDMs. Still, when you get involved with very large IDMs such as Texas Instruments or IBM or AMD, they end up in some ways using Virage’s technical resources as a method of outsourcing. So it’s a combination of selling our standard products as well as customizing for them. Because remember, they all are now just moving from having their own fabs into these foundries, and as such they have to make some modifications to their processes and modifications to their IP. Portable Design: Your other customer base is foundries, with whom you have many

partnerships. Aren’t you afraid they’ll play ‘Pac Man’ with at least your commodity IP, developing their own libraries? McCranie: It hasn’t happened yet, but it’s a constant worry. I think the solution to that is to come out with the most advanced lithography and IP quickly for the partner. In April of ’07 we formed a strategic partnership with TSMC, which as you know is the big dog in foundries. We just recently signed deals with Common Platform, which is an IBM, Chartered and Samsung arrangement. The goal of these [partnerships] is to work in parallel with the foundries to deliver advanced IP and advanced nodes in parallel with their development processes. By doing that we’re actually an adjunct of their process development. That helps us. As a matter of fact, our foundry-related foundation IP sales have not dropped, and this year will be a record. I think a lot of that is because of partnerships. It’s always possible that if you fall behind—if you don’t have the latest IP in a timely fashion— they’re going to do it themselves. Remember, they’re not building this IP to be in the IP business; they’re building it because they want to sell wafers. If either Virage or companies like Virage don’t provide it on a timely basis, they’ll do it themselves. So our strategy has been to partner and make sure we do it on a timely basis. Portable Design: From a security standpoint, semiconductor IP would seem to be a risky business. How can you protect your products from becoming the templates for cheap knockoffs somewhere down the road? McCranie: It’s always possible. The way we respond is twofold. First, we mostly work at advanced nodes; as a matter of fact, I think last quarter, of our $15 million dollars in revenue, all but a couple of million dollars was at 65 nm or better. So 90 nm, 130 nm—I don’t think we had anything at ¼ micron—is a very small portion of our revenue. We’re constantly pushing the envelope at advanced nodes. Therefore our IP gets stale fast over the years. So it’s tough to copy a rapidly moving target. The second thing is IP protection. The company currently has over 155 patents, so that portfolio puts you in a strong position if you happen to find those interlopers that are coming after your advanced nodes.

Portable Design: How do you see the semiconductor IP industry evolving over the next few years? McCranie: I think this conversion to fabless, or at least ‘fab light’, is marking a sea change for IP. It used to be a ‘make or buy’ decision for the major houses, and as such that limited the revenue and a growth rate of the IP industry. As these houses go fabless, or at least fab light, there’s no longer a ‘make or buy decision’; it’s going to be a ‘who to buy’ decision. We’ve always had a very large total available market (TAM) for IP measured in the tens of billions of dollars; but the served available market (SAM)—the amount that houses like Virage play in—was a small fraction of that because most of the stuff stayed captive. As we move into the fabless area, you’re going to see more and more of the TAM converted to SAM. So I absolutely predict that the IP industry will see huge growth, and the secret to all our success will be to stay at advanced nodes; to develop IP as fast as possible; and when you can’t develop that IP, buy it. Portable Design: What changes can we expect to see in Virage Logic over the next 3-5 years? McCranie: Virage is doing two things. First, we want to be first to market at the most advanced nodes. We weren’t always; in fact we weren’t ever until recently. We were first to market at 40 nm; we were first to market at 65 LP; and I believe we’ll be first to market with 32 nm, both LP and G processes. Secondly, our customers are semiconductor SoC and programmable guys. We want to make more of the derivative but hard-to-do IP surrounding that SoC. So you’re going to see us move not just in foundation IP, but also into memories and logic. You’ll see us move more and more into RTL and specialty memory such as non-volatile memory elements. That’s what you’ll be seeing from us. Virage Logic Corporation Fremont, CA. (510) 360-8000. [www.viragelogic.com].

AUGUST 2008

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The RTC Group is a media services company specializing in bringing companies and their products to a focused group of electronic and computer manufacturers. RTC is proud of its track record of blazing new trails in search of marketing value for our clients. Portable Design magazine is the newest addition to RTC Group’s collection of publications.

advertiser index Actel Corporation www.actel.com

56

event calendar

Altera Corporation www.altera.com

2

09/15-17/08

ARM Developers’ Conference www.arm.com/developersconference

29

Austin Semiconductor www.austinsemiconductor.com

49

CDI www.cdvinc.com

11

Wyndham Hotel - San Jose, CA www.portabledesignconference.com

Custom Computer Services www.ccsinfo.com

50

09/25/08

Express Logic www.expresslogic.com

46

Global Lighting Technologies, Inc. www.glthome.com

33

Micrel Semiconductor www.micrel.com

55

Mouser Electronic www.mouser.com

25

National Manufacturing Week www.manufacturingweek.com

41

Digital Power Forum-DPF ‘08 San Francisco, CA www.digitalpower.darnell.com 09/18/2008

Portable Design Conference & Exhibition - PDCE ’08

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Phoenix, AZ www.rtecc.com/phoenix2008 10/01/08

EDA Tech Forum Boston, MA www.edatechforum.com 10/07-09/08

ARM Developers’ Conference Santa Clara, CA www.rtcgroup.com/arm/2008

Peregrine Semiconductor www.psemi.com

7

Portable Design Conference & Exhibition www.portabledesignconference.com

43

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference

Qualcomm MEMS Technologies www.qualcomm.com

21

San Diego, CA www.rtecc.com/sandiego2008

Sequoia Communications www.sequoiacommunications.com

51

Synaptics www.synaptics.com

47

Tensilica www.tensilica.com

4

10/21/08

10/23/08

Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference Long Beach, CA www.rtecc.com/longbeach2008 12/08-10/08

Lithium Mobile Power Las Vegas, NV www.knowledgefoundation.com

If you wish to have your industry event listed, contact Sally Bixby with The RTC Group at sallyb@rtcgroup.com

54

PORTABLE DESIGN

Virage Logic www.viragelogic.com

50

WAVEZero www.wavezero.com

51

Wind River Systems, Inc. www.windriver.com

48


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