Curved displays for TVs, cellphones next big thing

By : |January 17, 2014 0

MESA, USA: The main news outlets have all voiced their opinions on what was new and wonderful at the International CES conference in Las Vegas last week. Although there’s no way that everything could be covered, the next big thing seems to be curved displays for TVs and even cellphones.

Of course, wearables like smart watches and health bracelets were everywhere. But, CES is not always a predictor of the future. After all, earlier CES rollouts of 3D home TVs proved to be a disaster. But now, 4K screen resolution seems to have caught on very well.

There were huge automotive displays (and even a fully-restored 1939 Crosley…perhaps the smaller precursor to today’s Mini Cooper) but helicopter drones seemed to catch everybody’s imagination and I was particularly impressed with how far 3D printing has come…both plastic and metallic.

Via Telecom licenses its CDMA to MediaTek
At CES, MediaTek demonstrated their single-mode LTE modem based on its acquired Coresonic DSP core. The modem will be mated with the company’s proven 2G/3G modem later this year for a multimode solution. When MTK rolls out its complete 4G solution, it will also include CDMA 2000 technology from Via Technologies (based on CEVA’s DSP core).

I suspect that MTK’s game plan is to emphasize the large (and better-understood) China market. The addition of CDMA will make China Telecom happy (they are the only CDMA network in China) will carve out one market niche not served by the other LTE modem players. Sales for cellphones to Verizon and Sprint in the US could follow (although LTE is their long-term focus, CDMA is necessary for complete US coverage and to ease the eventual transition to LTE).

Imagination licenses DTV radio to Qualcomm
Imagination Technologies, the leader in graphics IP licensing, announced that it has licensed its Ensigma Radio Processing Unit (RPU) IP to Qualcomm to be integrated in the Snapdragon 802 Ultra HD processor designed for smart TVs, set top boxes and digital media adapters from Qualcomm’s QTI subsidiary. The Ensigma RPU performs global broadcast TV demodulation functions (for digital TV) and will be integrated in the Snapdragon 802

Other LTE modem tidbits
Altair has announced that its FourGee-3100/6202 chipset has been selected to connect the new HP Chromebook 11.6″ LTE as the first affordable Chromebook with 4G LTE connectivity, and currently the only LTE-only Chromebook available.

The same single-mode LTE chipset is at the core of the Ellipsis 7 tablet, the first-ever device marked under Verizon Wireless’ own brand. Q4/13 was the company’s best quarter ever, so it’s on a roll. Altair’s FourGee-3800/6300 a Cat 4 LTE-A solution with VoLTE capability will also be introduced this quarter.

Broadcom is doubling down on its multimode LTE modem/RF solution acquired from Renesas Mobile, and apparently abandoning efforts related to its earlier-acquired Beceem LTE technology. The company is planning on a multimode thin modem running Cat 6 LTE-A with 300 Mbps downloads in mid-2014. The modem will also have TD-SCDMA capability for China Mobile implementation.

Nvidia’s 500i LTE modem is now qualified at AT&T and Vodafone and at CES the company indicated that it would be showing its integrated Tegra 4i baseband/application processor in a branded cellphone at MWC next month.

Sequans’ VZ20Q EZLinkLTE module has been selected by Techno Source and KD Interactive, makers of the best-selling Kurio line of Android tablets for families with kids. The module is a pre-integrated, pre-tested and pre-certified solution enabling use on Verizon’s LTE network. It comprises Sequans’ Mont Blanc single-mode LTE platform baseband chip, an LTE-optimized transceiver, dual-band RF front end, memory and support chips in a single compact package.

u-blox has launched its TOBY-L2, billed as the world’s fastest 4G LTE modules with 3G & 2G fallback. The LTE Cat 4 modules come in LGA and PCI Express format, complementing the company’s TOBY-L1 LTE-only modules. These devices are based on u-blox’ acquired CogNovo LTE modem.

ZTE has announced the WiseFone 7510 LTE modem dongle based on its ZX297502 LTE baseband chip. The baseband chip is mated with RF transceivers from Analog Devices Inc. and Advanced Circuit Pursuit AG and a power management chip from Texas Instruments.

MWC outlook
The Mobile World Congress ’14 in Barcelona next month will be the wireless industry’s premier conference, highlighting new products and industry direction. Qualcomm will, of course, be the dominant chip player, but we expect significant announcements from Intel and others who will be prepping to provide real completion for the big Q in 2015.

The author is president and principal analyst, ForwardConcepts, USA.

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