Gary Lerude, MWJ Technical Editor
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Gary Lerude

Gary Lerude is the Technical Editor of Microwave Journal. Previously, he spent his career as a “midwife” aiding the growth of the compound semiconductor industry, from device to application, from defense to commercial. He spent 19 years at Texas Instruments, 11 years at MACOM and six years with TriQuint. Gary holds a bachelor’s in EE, a master’s in systems engineering and an engineers degree (ABD) in EE.

Weekly Report

For the week ending March 6

March 9, 2015

Last week's industry news was dominated by product announcements at Mobile World Congress (MWC) — after the big bang on the eve of MWC, when the NXP-Freescale deal was announced.

NXP—Freescale Deal

To recap that one, NXP is acquiring Freescale in an $11.8 billion cash and stock deal that will create a company with some $10 billion in revenue. Rick Clemmer, NXP's CEO and President, will remain CEO and President. The companies made no announcement of any role for Gregg Lowe, Freescale's CEO and President.

Here's the relevance of the deal to the RF industry: Freescale has the largest share of the LDMOS RF power transistor market; NXP is the second largest player. Combined, they would hold over 70 percent share, maybe over 80 percent. To avoid regulatory issues with the combination, Clemmer told investment analysts that NXP will retain Freescale's RF segment and sell their own high performance RF (HPRF) business.

Section 6.8 (c) of the merger agreement filed with the SEC actually allows the option to sell either company's RF power business, where power is defined to be greater than 1 watt average output, using LDMOS, GaAs or GaN on SiC.

Companies and Products

ANADIGICS is shipping their AWL9281 Wi-Fi front-end module to Huawei for the Honor 4X smartphonebeing sold in China.

Custom MMIC released a x2 frequency multiplier die with an output frequency range of 24 to 36 GHz (12 to 18 GHz input). The multiplier provides 17 dBm output power with low spurs.

GigOptix opened a sales office in Japan and appointed Yoshi Koizumi as their Asia Pacific sales director. Koizumi previously covered Japan for TriQuint.

Beginning June 1, Keysight will move to direct sales for all North American customers of high-performance products: network analyzers, spectrum analyzers, signal sources, power products, oscilloscopes and modular solutions. Electro Rent currently supports these products at certain accounts.

Mercury Systems received follow-on orders totaling $3.1 million for missile defense radar subsystems.

At MWC, NXP demonstrated a near-field magnetic induction (NFMI) radio, which enables a wireless earbud to earbud connection.

Qorvo made several announcements at MWC: They are expanding their RF Fusion integrated front end portfolio, with low, mid and high band models. RF Fusion integrates multi-band PAs, filters, switches and couplers into a single module. A first generation model (RF7501C) is designed in an Android smartphone that will launch by July. The integrated product occupies 35% less board area than discretes.

Qorvo also announced RF Flex front-end modules — multi-band PAs and transmit modules — for LTE smartphones and tablets, with the initial product targeting mid-tier phones. The company is targeting China and developing 4G markets.

Similarly, Skyworks made several announcements: The SkyOne Ultra FEMs are ramping into production. These front-end modules are optimized for envelope tracking, harmonic carrier aggregation and efficiency. The SkyOne Mini, designed for LTE smartphones, has achieved several design wins. Three versions reduce board area and lower cost.

The company also introduced three new diversity receive modules for LTE smartphones. These modules integrate switches, filters and LNAs.

Markets and Applications

Google confirmed plans to offer wireless service, saying it is intended to innovate and not compete with U.S. operators AT&T, Verizon, et al. Initially the service will only be available with a Nexus 6 smartphone. Read The Wall Street Journal story.

In the first use of Ericsson's Dot small-cell in the U.S. — outside of a lab — Verizon has deployed it in one of their regional headquarters.

Are there other companies or markets that you'd like me to follow? Leave a comment, and I'll add them to my list.

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