Here’s my roundup of news from the past week worth noting.
Companies and Products
Anokiwave completed a Series C funding round that will accelerate development of their second and third generation RFICs for 5G, satellite communications, aerospace and defense markets. The round was led by a new investor: Gefinor Capital with US Boston Capital Corporation and its affiliate Pear Tree Partners. Anokiwave did not disclose how much was raised.
imec announced two building blocks: a 300 MSPS successive approximation ADC for sub-6 GHz applications and a 60 GHz front-end with 8-way, calibration-free beamforming. Both building blocks may be licensed or are available through imec’s industrial affiliate program.
Qorvo announced that its GP712 SoC is the first multi-channel IoT transceiver to be certified for Thread. It also supports ZigBee.
Rohde & Schwarz has extended the analysis bandwidth of its FSW85 signal and spectrum analyzer to 5 GHz. The analyzer covers center frequencies between 9.5 and 90 GHz.
Taoglas announced formation of a new division that will focus on filters for IoT, mobile and GNSS applications, including bands L1/L2 and L1/L5. The filters are manufactured in Taoglas’ production facilities in Taiwan.
Wolfspeed has released a family of 0.25 µm GaN on SiC HEMTs, extending the previous generation’s performance to 8 GHz. The devices are available as die or in flange or solder-down pill packages.
Markets and Technology
Semiconductor Technology — JEDEC formed a committee (JC-70) that will focus on reliability and qualification procedures, datasheet elements and parameters and test and characterization methods for GaN and SiC. Interim chairs from Infineon, TI and Wolfspeed will lead JC-70’s efforts. JEDEC develops open standards for the microelectronics industry, with more than 3,000 volunteers representing some 300 member companies.
Microwave Journal editor Pat Hindle writes about the advances in RF semiconductor processes that are enabling 5G millimeter wave systems.
Cellular/5G — Apple announced the much anticipated new iPhones: the iPhone 8, a premium model named the iPhone X and — there’s more — an updated Apple Watch that has cellular and Wi-Fi connectivity. Good news for Broadcom, Qorvo and Skyworks.
Mobile World Congress invaded America, with the first conference in San Francisco. Watch videos summarizing each of the three days, as well as the keynote presentations.
5G Americas published the latest quarterly statistics for LTE (through June): global connections reached 2.37 billion, 59 percent more than the prior year’s quarter. Yet LTE’s share of the global mobile market is just 30 percent.
Samsung and U.S. cable operator Charter are conducting field trials of fixed wireless access at 28 GHz and LTE using the citizens broadband radio service (CBRS) band at 3.5 GHz. Charter is planning to launch a virtual mobile service in 2018.
Ericsson introduced an FDD radio for massive MIMO using mid-band spectrum, with T-Mobile conducting trials of the system in Baltimore. Ericsson’s AIR 3246 supports both 4G/LTE and 5G NR technologies, providing an upgrade path for operators.
In the 5G and Beyond blog, NI's James Kimery discusses the development of the 5G physical layer standard and how it is addressing multi-beam phased arrays.
Autonomous Driving — The U.S. Department of Transportation released version 2.0 of the federal guidelines for self-driving vehicles. The document, which you can read here, focuses on SAE levels 3 (the human driver will respond appropriately to a request to intervene), 4 (the car can handle driving scenarios even if a human driver does not respond appropriately to a request to intervene) and 5 (full automation under all road and environmental conditions).
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) completed its investigation of the first fatal Tesla crash, on May 7, 2016. The report cited both the driver for lack of attention and Tesla's design that enabled the inattention, stating “The way in which the Tesla Autopilot system monitored and responded to the driver’s interaction with the steering wheel was not an effective method of ensuring driver engagement.”
Technology and Society — No doubt you’ve seen the impact of automation on jobs. Writing in The Wall Street Journal, Greg Ip argues that despite the disruptions, automation creates more jobs than it eliminates.
After 20 years of amazing exploration, the Cassini spacecraft ended its epic journey to Saturn by plunging into the planet. A sad ending to a technology marvel that brought us such knowledge.
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