Pat Hindle

Motorola rose like the Phoenix after it moved west from Illinois to sunny Arizona in 1949. Our cover story chronicles the history of Motorola and the technology companies it has acquired and spun off over the years. An integral part of the Phoenix area, Motorola was the leading technology company and commercial employer for decades. They pioneered the first commercial radio, military radio, cathode ray TV, portable telephone, 8-bit microprocessor, cellular phone, digital cellular system (GSM) and Wi-Fi cable modem gateway. Long-time Motorola and now current Freescale employee Leonard Pelletier (aka RF Leonard), gives an insider’s view of the company’s culture and scientists that helped drive innovation. Read this unique view of the history of Motorola and its impact on society through the years.

Freescale Semiconductor, the most well known spin-off from Motorola, recently announced it is being acquired by NXP, as merger mania continues to dominate industry headlines.  The combined RF power businesses of the companies has about 80 percent market share, so NXP plans to divest their RF power business and retain all of the businesses of Freescale. This could result in a new RF company if it is spun out from NXP or someone else could purchase it.

Everyone looks forward to IMS each year as the largest gathering of RF engineers in the industry. It is a few weeks earlier than normal this year, taking place May 17-22 in Phoenix. The opening plenary speaker, Dr. John Rogers, Professor of Materials Science & Engineering and Chemistry at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, will present his talk “Soft Assemblies of Radios, Sensors and Circuits for the Skin” on Monday from 17:30-19:00. He will discuss advanced, flexible sensors, circuits, radios and power supply systems mounted on the skin that have the potential to provide clinical-quality health monitoring capabilities. The closing ceremony speaker, Darlene J.S. Solomon, senior vice president and chief technology officer, Agilent Technologies, will discuss “The Century of Biology is Great for Engineering” on Thursday from 16:30-18:00. Many believe the 21st century will be defined as the century of biology, referring to our expanding knowledge of living systems to the point where we can develop biology-based solutions to some of the planet’s largest societal challenges – healthcare, energy and the environment.

As these keynote speakers will address, radio technology and advanced packaging are enabling many future medical applications, due in large part to the expanding Internet of Things (IoT). From Smart Cities to connected appliances, IoT promises to connect the world to realize new benefits and conveniences for society. Some experts are forecasting around $5 trillion being invested in smart cities in China by 2017. ABI research is projecting that nearly 41 billion devices will be connected to the Internet by 2020, thus advances in wireless technology will be needed to enable reduced power, increased capacity and lower latency.

These challenges promise to be addressed with 5G communication systems using technologies such as massive MIMO, software defined radios/cloud RAN, mmWave/terahertz transceivers, AESA radios, alternative modulation schemes and small cells/HetNets. Microwave Journal is organizing a special “Path to 5G: Design and Test Challenges” panel session on Wednesday at noon in the MicroApps Theater. This special panel of industry experts will examine the challenges of device design and device/system testing for 5G technologies. Please join us on the exhibition floor and participate in the interactive discussion.

In addition to all of the regular IMS sessions, there are many interesting special sessions similar to the 5G Panel. Some of these topics include the evolution of power amplifiers, Maxwell’s equations, small satellite development, energy harvesting technologies, 100 Gbps wireless technologies, THz nano electronics, mobile communications beyond 6 GHz, low noise receivers for remote sensing on small satellites, non-foster networks and adaptable front-ends for military applications. These sessions cover a wide array of new technologies and are given by experts in the field.

In this issue we also have messages from the chairs of the IMS, RFIC and ARFTG conferences who will provide an overview of each event. We also cover the exhibition with a floor map and product highlights from participating companies listed by aisle for easy reference. The exhibition floor is the best place to network and find out about the latest new products and innovations from both leading and emerging companies in our industry. See you in Phoenix!