editor's blog
Subscribe Now

ARM’s Top Three Cellular Trends

At ARM’s recent TechCon event, I heard from James Bruce, their lead mobile strategist, who gave his views on the three trends he sees underway on the mobile front.

The first is the continued evolution of the smartphone; no surprise there. These are the machines that are expected to replace your laptop someday. At around $600, they’ll focus on features and performance. (And, addressing my kvetch comment following Jim’s article at the end of that link, yes, evidently docking stations are being prepared. He wasn’t able to share any names. I’m just glad I won’t be forced to thumb future articles on a phone.)

The second is the firming up of an entry-level smartphone category, in the $80 range. What will the user give up for that $520? Well, most of the costs are in the screen, the sensors, and in the technology required to make a phone super thin and super low-power. So this category would do much of what the super-smartphone would do, only slower, with less memory, fewer sensors, a larger battery, and lower-quality mechanics. He describes it as being like a 2009-10 smartphone, only cheaper.

The third is the emergence of LTE (long-term evolution) for increased capacity (roughly double) and consistent data rates. It also brings MIMO (multiple in/out) technology to improve reception in harsh urban environments.

Of course, there’s inconsistency in marketing LTE as a 3G or 4G technology. In the US, it’s called 4G because, well, because we like to market things as better than they are whenever we can get away with it. In Europe, on the other hand, they license spectrum per technology. So providers there are staying on the 3G bandwagon for as long as possible. When they move to 4G, they’ll have to pay new licensing fees.

For the record, LTE/Advanced is, according to James, truly a 4G technology.

After that? Well, bandwidth demand is doubling every couple years. Transmission technology can only do so much to keep up with that. Using more and smaller cells – down to the level of femtocells – will be a necessary complement to keep boosting overall system capacity.

Leave a Reply

featured blogs
Apr 23, 2019
Paul Cunningham was interviewed by Jim Hogan at the latest ESD Alliance "fireside chat". Ever since Lip-Bu's fireside chat at DAC was interrupted by the fire-alarms due to a real fire,... [[ Click on the title to access the full blog on the Cadence Community s...
Apr 22, 2019
I am honored to have the opportunity to serve as the 2019 DAC Technical Program Chair, and this has been an exceptional year in terms of research and Designer/IP track submitted content. The Design Automation Conference (DAC) was founded in 1964 and is the longest running an...
Apr 18, 2019
Thermal Shock testing isn’t unique to the connector world, but it does play a big role in the qualification testing that Samtec puts all connectors through before they are released for production. Chances are likely that you thermally shock many items per day and don...
Jan 25, 2019
Let'€™s face it: We'€™re addicted to SRAM. It'€™s big, it'€™s power-hungry, but it'€™s fast. And no matter how much we complain about it, we still use it. Because we don'€™t have anything better in the mainstream yet. We'€™ve looked at attempts to improve conven...