Motorola, Inc.'s (NYSE: MOT) Semiconductor Products Sector (SPS) today announced its 2.5G Innovative Convergence(tm) (i.250) platform -- a comprehensive silicon-to-software solution for 2.5G Global System for Mobile Communication/Global Packet Radio Service (GSM/GPRS) wireless handsets. This scalable, highly integrated platform combines an advanced chipset with an industry-leading development environment, field-proven GPRS protocol software, type certification support, and best-in-class system cost to support a complete range of voice-centric, voice/data, and data-centric products.
The new platform, which is designed to help global original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) and original design manufacturers (ODMs) develop state- of-the-art products to enable anytime, anywhere communication for consumers, joins Motorola's broad GPRS product portfolio. With the i.250 platform, Motorola is leveraging its GPRS expertise to give manufacturers unprecedented flexibility and scalability, coupled with the "always on" connectivity today's consumers demand.
"The turnkey i.250 platform is designed to reduce system cost while speeding time to market for handset manufacturers," said Pete Shinyeda, corporate vice president of Motorola's Wireless and Broadband Systems Group. "Its streamlined, compact design features the lowest component part-count in the industry. Manufacturers can easily add personality and packaging to their handset products, focusing on applications, branding, features and style while enjoying instant access to cutting-edge technology. The bundled platform gives them unprecedented flexibility for getting to market quickly, easily, and cost-effectively. In addition, our platform solutions can scale from voice-only wireless clients to rich multimedia platforms, easing the migration to 3G solutions and reducing overall costs."
The i.250 platform is expected to capture a significant share of the wireless semiconductor market, which is forecasted to reach $35 billion in 2004, with more than 480 million GSM/GPRS handsets in production by 2005 (Gartner Group, Dataquest, July 2001).
"In the next three to four years, companies like Motorola that get out in front like you are doing with this announcement will be the ones that last in the marketplace, the ones that will win," said Andrew M. Seybold, senior partner, the Andrew Seybold Group, a consulting firm that specializes in the connected mobility space.
An array of market firsts from a highly integrated chipset
The i.250 platform represents the third life cycle of Motorola GPRS chipset solutions-technology that embodies 70 years of wireless expertise, 50 years in semiconductors, and two decades of leadership in the cellular industry. Motorola's GPRS technology has achieved many industry-first milestones:
First to transmit packet data
First to transmit a live GPRS call
First to achieve an IP (Internet protocol) call over a GSM network
First to demonstrate mobile e-commerce using WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) over a live GPRS network
First to publicly demonstrate MPEG4 (Moving Picture Experts Group, web multimedia) video transmission over a GPRS network
This groundbreaking chipset is both Enhanced Data GSM Evolution (EDGE)- receive and GPRS Class 12-capable, and supports two dual-band configurations for regional customization: either 900/1800 megahertz (MHz) or 850/1900 MHz. The chipset includes four main integrated circuits (ICs) -- the silicon heart of the i.250 platform, representing significant advances in system integration and semiconductor manufacturing:
Dual-core baseband processor IC. Leveraging Motorola's fourth generation of dual-core baseband technology, these digital, integrated DSP56600 (digital signal processor) and ARM TDMI baseband ICs use industry-leading 0.13 um, copper-based technology. Embedded memory minimizes both the need for external flash and the static random access memory (SRAM) used in current platforms. Embedded memory reduces system power consumption and gives consumers a longer battery life.
Front End IC. Superior high-frequency performance results from Motorola's mainstream radio frequency (RF) BiCMOS technology combined with a single Silicon Germanium:Carbon (SiGe:C) process step. The SiGe:C also offers, right on-chip, a wide variety of high quality/accuracy active and passive devices, including copper inductors-thereby heightening the cost-efficiency of wireless applications.
Power Management and Audio Circuit. Motorola's cost-effective SMARTMOS(r) 5 technology underlies this integrated power management and audio circuit. A medium-voltage mixed-signal BiCMOS process integrates high-performance analog circuitry, intelligent digital control, and power-capable devices.
Power Amplifier Module. In this module, Motorola's Indium Gallium Phosphide heterojunction bipolar transistor (InGaP HBT) technology integrates-in a single package-two power amplifiers, a Single-Pole 4-Throw (SP4T) antenna switch, harmonic filters, couplers, and power detection circuitry. The resulting System-in-Package (SiP) capability reduces overall system cost, while also improving performance with the validated chipset.
Ease and flexibility from best-of-breed software and development aids
To help manufacturers meet customers' rising demands for speed, connectivity, and plentiful mobile applications, the i.250 platform combines a mature, field-proven GPRS protocol stack and certified communication protocol software with a comprehensive integrated development environment (IDE). The mature, field-tested GPRS architecture enhances bandwidth to offer "always-on" connectivity and proven interoperability with a range of portable devices- personal digital assistants (PDAs), cell phones, laptops, web tablets and more.
A range of additional aids further streamlines platform development and speeds time to market:
Radio Test Environment (RTE), which enhances radio development and performance optimization.
Manufacturing Test Environment (MTE), used to meet type approval and production line test requirements.
Reference design speeds time to market by providing a typical cellular system design for a quick start on customer product designs.
FTA (Field Type Approval) Reference Design in a phone form factor reduces customer cycle time and investment. Motorola's full FTA global support teams help ensure manufacturers' success, regardless of their target platform or business needs.
Extensive third-party solutions (WAP browser, predictive text entry and more) to enhance one-stop-shopping capabilities.
"i." platform's scalability for migrating from 2G to 2.5G to 3G solutions Motorola helps smooth the evolution from 2.5G to 3G solutions with its "i." (pronounced "eye-dot") platform series, which was named to symbolize Innovative Convergence and Internet connectivity. The "i." platform series represents three distinct GSM solutions that cover the 2G/2.5G space:
i.200 -- An entry-level GSM platform for voice and enhanced voice-only applications.
i.250 -- A 2.5G GSM/GPRS platform enabling voice-centric or voice data applications.
i.275 -- A 2.75G GSM/GPRS platform that is focused on data-centric applications and other voice-data applications requiring high-speed Internet connectivity.
Built on a flexible open architecture, the i.250 platform is expandable to EDGE and scalable to 3G systems such as the ultra-fast 2Mbps UMTS (Universal Mobile Telecommunications System) and W-CDMA (Wideband-Code Division Multiple Access) standards. The platform allows manufacturers to use faster data services over existing GSM carriers, generating revenue immediately while gaining the ability to migrate to 3G technology. A comprehensive portfolio of 3G platforms will be included in the family.
Scalability is enhanced by PAN-to-WAN connectivity, software and hardware reusability, and flexible memory structures for combining features. Plus, Motorola is one of only two licensed architectural partners for ARM(r) technology.