Agere Systems announced a leading-edge mobile handset architecture that enables phone manufacturers to more rapidly deliver a broad portfolio of products aimed at addressing growing demand for multimedia- capable wireless phones that can support such applications as real-time audio and video streaming, digital photo imaging and interactive gaming.
Agere's new Vision(TM) mobile handset architecture combines an advanced digital baseband chip set, proven software and state-of-the-art tools to provide a low-power, highly integrated framework for a broad range of multimedia mobile devices using the same platform. With its flexibility and scalability, the Vision(TM) architecture will help manufacturers develop low-risk, high-performance solutions that meet operator and user demands for advanced network technologies, including 2.5G/GPRS, EDGE, 3G/WCDMA and beyond. At the same time, the Vision architecture's unique modular hardware and software platform can shorten the time it takes to bring a handset to market by up to six months.
With a focus on products that offer uncompromising mobility, Agere's Vision architecture supports the development of small-form factor wireless devices equipped for extended battery life. This architecture is the first in the industry to provide a protected protocol stack running from the same external memory as applications, not only ensuring communications integrity over mobile operators' networks, but also supporting the ever increasing need to add multimedia applications. Ultimately, the benefits are faster time to operator approval and rapid integration of new applications, without compromising a mobile phone's performance, size and battery life.
Two key elements of the architecture drive these benefits -- a power- efficient, multiple processor core and a unique, modular software platform based on the industry's most proven protocol stack.
Flexible, multi-core architecture
The architecture's digital baseband chip set, which uses a low-leakage process technology and multiple processors, enables key enhancements in security, performance and power management. In fact, handsets based on Agere's Vision architecture will be capable of providing 50 percent longer battery life than comparable single processor multimedia solutions and high-quality video streaming at rates of up to 30 frames per second Video Graphics Array (VGA).
This exceptional performance comes from the chip set's three separate processing domains: a communications processor, an applications processor and a signal processor. This segmentation allows each processor to be fully dedicated to its particular function and eliminates complications such as increased integration and debug times that often occur with solutions that offer combined communications and applications processing. It also removes the interdependencies that result when domains share processing and memory space.
The de-coupled applications and communications structure also offers critical advantages during the development phase when designers may need to revamp and enhance existing models to meet specific market demands. Multiple processors allow them to adapt each domain individually without radically interfering with the design of the others. Most importantly, the multiple processor structure uses Agere's patented techniques for ensuring secure communication and low power execution in a multi-core architecture working from a single external memory system.
For added security, Agere provides One-Time Programmable (OTP) memory, which assigns an individual serial number within the chip set uniquely identifying a GSM-based phone and protecting against fraudulent cloning of the handset.
Proven modular software and OptiSuite(TM) tools
The software provided as part of the Vision architecture includes Agere's proven protocol stack, which has been built to support multiple handset segments and evolving mobile standards. Besides assuring compatibility with earlier generations of Agere chip sets and providing an increased return on previous software investments, the protocol stack eliminates much of the time required for testing. It includes all of the key requirements for Field Type Approval (FTA), Global Certification Forum (GCF) testing and PCS Type Certification Review Board (PTCRB), as well as field and interoperability testing.
Designed to support a variety of open operating systems, including SymbianOS, Windows Mobile(TM), PalmOS and Linux, the software also delivers a highly efficient communication interface ensuring exceptional operating system (OS) performance, as well as quick handling of multimedia and data applications. Agere's flexible software platform is capable of supporting both multiple and single processor solutions across various network technologies.
In addition, the architecture enables the integration of a broad range of enhancements including cameras, high-resolution displays, USB2.0(OTG) as well as support for such short-range wireless technologies as Bluetooth(TM) and Wi-Fi.
Along with integrated hardware and software, Agere supplies its OptiSuite(TM) design tools, which is a comprehensive set of development, production and testing tools, to help manufacturers take their handset designs from development into production within shorter timeframes. As this common set of tools can be used across an entire portfolio of designs, OptiSuite offers significant resource management benefits. Specifically, the suite supports hardware and network-level simulation and enables customization of handsets allowing manufacturers, operators and retailers to implement graphics and menus in line with a particular branding or look and feel.
Agere expects to deliver silicon and software samples based on the Vision architecture to select customers in the third calendar quarter of 2004.