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Due to intense vendor price competition and cellular operator negotiating clout, the power amplifier segment of both cellular infrastructure markets and handset markets has seen falling average selling prices (ASP) over the last several years, especially in the more mature markets such as GSM. But with the advent of new standards such as EDGE and 3G, which require going back to the drawing board to meet increased linearity requirements, there should be a rise in power amplifier ASP, according to ABI Research. Alan Varghese, the firm’s principal analyst of semiconductor research, points out that vendors are using innovative methods that include adaptive pre-distortion and switching amplifier techniques (among others) to increase efficiency without sacrificing linearity. The other interesting trends in this segment are tower-mounted amplifiers, plastic packaging, MCPAs, LDMOS MMICs and wideband amplifiers. And, notes Varghese, Gallium Nitride might finally get on the runway, as a substitute for LDMOS. Even if the story surrounding cellular markets is troubling, there will nonetheless be interesting growth in areas such as broadband wireless, WiMAX, WLANs and Ultrawideband (UWB). ABI Research’s study, “RF Power Semiconductors: Transistors, FETs, ICs and Power Modules,” discusses all these issues in detail for GaAs MMICs, GaAs transistors and silicon transistors. In addition, it examines the drivers for power semiconductors, the key performance parameters such as linearity and efficiency, and recent trends in these spaces. It also forecasts timelines and volumes in individual segments such as cellular, WLAN, military, broadband wireless and satellite, out to 2009.
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