Marking a major step forward to bring Bluetooth functionality to cellular phones and consumer devices, Texas Instruments (announced today the BRF6100, the first single-chip Bluetooth(tm) solution to integrate a digital Radio Frequency (RF) processor and Bluetooth baseband on one chip to reduce cost and minimize board space. The BRF6100 is the first implementation of TI's digital RF architecture and uses TI's standard 0.13 micron, copper Complementary Metal Oxide Semiconductor (CMOS) manufacturing process to deliver considerable advantages over existing Bluetooth RF technology. See www.ti.com/rd/brf6100.
By designing a digital RF CMOS architecture, TI has removed many of the challenges associated with current RF devices. The BRF6100 Bluetooth chip will consume as little as half the power of current solutions and will occupy the smallest board area of any product available today. The BRF6100 will allow mobile device designers to easily integrate Bluetooth functionality - a high value-added feature - for a total system cost below $4 in volume quantities.
"TI's BRF6100 will play a major role in accelerating the current growth of Bluetooth in cellular products from smart or high-end phones to mid-range and low end products, thanks to its lower cost and process scalability," said Michael Wall of Frost and Sullivan. "TI has once again proven a cost leadership position with this announcement, following rapidly on the heels of the Frost and Sullivan Value Leadership Award received in April for its current solutions."
Digital RF CMOS Technology
Using RF CMOS technology, the digital RF is scalable with each new manufacturing process, meaning that both the RF and baseband portions can benefit from reduced die area with each process node shift. Unlike existing analog RF implementation, digital RF can be re-targeted from process to process with standard digital design tools, simplifying design and reducing time to market. A digital RF is also less prone to process change and variability. These advantages bring considerable cost advantages, enabling continued price reductions as processes evolve and facilitating faster time to market for new products.
Moving ahead, handset designers also can leverage the RF CMOS technology to integrate digital RF into cellular baseband silicon and software solutions.
More Than Single-Chip
With more than 10 years of experience in wireless system integration, as well as unmatched expertise in real-time signal processing, TI understands wireless device power and performance requirements. The BRF6100 effectively optimizes power consumption by offering the lowest transmit and receive current draw available, on-chip low drop out voltage rates (LDOs) and "deep sleep" idle modes that uses only 25 micro Amps of current (10 micro Amps for deep sleep, 15 micro Amps for the LDOs). Featuring both 1.8V and 3.0V variants, the device supports Bluetooth technology optimized to various 2.5G and 3G communications standards such as GSM, GPRS, CDMA and UMTS, and allows multi-point operation of seven connected devices and voice.
"With the BRF6100, TI is radically changing the Bluetooth equation," said Ari Rauch, general manager, TI Short Distance Wireless. "Digital RF processing gives unprecedented advantages to customers in terms of power consumption, cost and board space, and allows their Bluetooth products to fully benefit from advances in technology."
Boosting Bluetooth in the Cellular Market
Primarily targeted at the cellular phone market, the BRF6100 offers a Bluetooth baseband, digital RF and antenna switch, all in a 6mm x 6mm package, and requires only five external components plus decoupling capacitors. This offers mobile handset designers the ability to add Bluetooth functionality in a space of less than 90 square millimeters - an important benefit in the mobile phone environment where features are fighting for space on the circuit board and minimal size is essential.
Bluetooth functionality offers the ability to link mobile handsets and connected networks to a variety of devices such as laptop computers and personal digital assistants (PDAs) for dial-up networking, email and synchronization, headsets and headphones for voice and audio, messaging terminals and cellular gaming devices, as well as many other cellular applications. According to In-Stat/MDR, the number of Bluetooth-enabled mobile phones will reach 20 million in 2002, and grow to a minimum of 300 million in 2005.