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Industry News / RFIC Channel

Broadcom's 40nm RF leads the industry in size and power

March 19, 2013
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ABI Research reports that Broadcom has put into production one of the world’s smallest multimode (GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS) transceivers. The sub 7 sq. mm. 40nm RF chip (BCM2193) was revealed just one week after the discovery of the 40nm RF chip announced last week. Broadcom’s chip was discovered second but it may actually have hit production a week or two prior to the Mediatek solution. “It is rare to see two such significant products hit production at virtually the same time,” comments Jim Mielke, ABI Research’s VP of engineering, “but the competition in the low cost smartphone market is driving cost down and speeding cost saving technologies to production.”

To clarify how significant this shift in die area is Mielke explains, “The norm for RF die size has been in the 20 sq. mm. range for years with a few solutions coming in near the mid-teens. Broadcom’s prior solution was a rarity and actually the industry leader in die size at approximately 10 sq. mm. Broadcom’s new die is 35 percent smaller than the benchmark they set (~10 sq. mm.) and 65-75 percent smaller than typical solutions.”

The BCM2093 accompanies the BCM21854 dual Arm Cortex A9 core application processor/ 3G modem and the BCM59056 power management unit (PMU).  This solution provides a cost effective yet powerful smartphone solution for key markets.  Smartphones, which not too long ago were a rarity, are now a very mature market.  Broadcom’s focus on using technology to reduce cost and power should propel additional smartphone features into lower cost phones.

 The BCM21854\BCM2093\BCM59056 chipset is just one of the many teardowns ABI Research has in its Teardown Research Service.  The complete teardown includes dismantling photos, HD board photos, part list, major component teardowns, die photos, X-rays, a complete set of power measurements, and a block diagram. 

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