A week after ABI Research crowned MediaTek Inc.’s MT6167 as the first 40nm and smallest multimode transceiver, the market analyst may have to backtrack its announcement.
ABI Research has reported that Broadcom Corp. has put into production one of the world’s smallest multimode (GSM/GPRS/EDGE/UMTS) transceivers. Just like MediaTek’s MT6167, Broadcom’s BCM2093 is a sub 7mm2, 40nm RF chip. The BCM2093 was discovered second but it may actually have hit production a week or two prior to the Mediatek solution.
“It is rare to see two such significant products hit production at virtually the same time,” commented Jim Mielke, ABI Research’s VP of engineering, “but the competition in the low cost smartphone market is driving cost down and speeding cost saving technologies to production.”
To clarify how significant this shift in die area is, Mielke explained, “The norm for RF die size has been in the 20mm2 range for years with a few solutions coming in near the mid-teens. Broadcom’s prior solution was a rarity and actually the industry leader in die size at approximately 10mm2. Broadcom’s new die is 35 per cent smaller than the benchmark they set (~10mm2) and 65-75 per cent smaller than typical solutions.”
Broadcom vs MediaTek vs Qualcomm
Qualcomm will remain the leader of the pack as long as additional technology is required but once the mobile device reaches a point where consumers are satisfied with performance, watch for Mediatek and companies with the same mindset to come on very strong.
The BCM2093 accompanies the BCM21854 dual Arm Cortex A9 core application processor/3G modem and the BCM59056 power management unit (PMU). This solution provides a cost effective yet powerful smartphone solution for key markets. Smartphones, which not too long ago were a rarity, are now a very mature market. Broadcom’s focus on using technology to reduce cost and power should propel additional smartphone features into lower cost phones.
The BCM21854\BCM2093\BCM59056 chipset is just one of the many teardowns ABI Research has in its Teardown Research Service. The complete teardown includes dismantling photos, HD board photos, part list, major component teardowns, die photos, X-rays, a complete set of power measurements, and a block diagram.