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TI: Smart phone features will enable lower end handsets

Posted: 05 Mar 2010     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:mobile industry  smart phone  handset market  processor 

Texas Instruments Inc. believes it is well-positioned to serve the growing need for full functionality products within the consumer electronics industry and executives said the company will continue to invest in and engage with OEMs offering such services.

As a result of changing customer demand, the company is also altering how it interacts with its OEM customers and moving beyond the wireless handset market to offer products targeted at varied mobile computing products, including e-book readers and tablets, according to Marcelo Vieira, director of OMAP product management at TI.

In a written response to questions submitted by EE Times Vieira discussed the range of services and products offered by TI and gave further insight into how the company is moving to differentiate itself in the market place. Here are excerpts from Vieira's comments:

EE Times: What are the three biggest changes you are seeing on the mobile handset market in 2010 and beyond?
Vieira: TI is dedicated to building future technologies that enable groundbreaking mobile use cases that simplify common tasks and make user interfaces more intuitive. It is our belief that features like touchless gesturing and 3D high-definition mobile capabilities will have the same impact as the touchscreen does today—radically changing how we interact with our mobile devices and the things around us.

All of these features will be available on devices by 2011, and many of them are up and running in demo form at Mobile World Congress 2010.

There are a number of trends we see evolving in the future. For starters, TI sees smart phones driving the future of the industry, and an increasing desire among manufacturers to bring smart phone functionalities to lower-tier markets.

But it does not stop with smart phones. There is an increasing need to bring smart phone like capability into new form factors and new end equipments, such as tablets, eBooks or "fourth screen" mobile devices. OEMs want to leverage the same platform, the same OS and the same applications across multiple products and multiple product categories.

This is where the OMAP solution fits extremely well, allowing OEMs and ODMs to build a scalable platform with the most amount of innovation and differentiation. As this occurs, the demand for more advanced multimedia capabilities and robust connections in mobile devices will continue to increase, especially with the introduction of leading-edge applications. Consumers will continue to live with a "multitasking" mindset, and will expect the same from mobile devices.

The term "open" will also continue to drive advancements into the future. For developers working with barrier-free OS like Linux and Android, the possibilities are endless for future advancements and the next round of awe-inspiring applications. Ecosystem communities, like TI's OMAP ecosystem, foster this inspiration. This community represents 400+ partners who work closely with TI to change how consumers experience and interact with devices.

Changing OEM needs

What are the new requirements imposed by handset OEMs and carriers for mobile handset chip vendors?
OEMs want to get more differentiated product to market faster. This means that TI is offering more complete solutions allowing customers to ramp phones to market in less than 12 months.

Two requirements that our customers continue to push—and we continue to deliver—are high performance and low power. As complex applications emerge and consumers expect increased functionality and multitasking ability from their mobile devices, our customers need to pack more capabilities into smaller, sleeker form factors, keeping mobile battery restrains in mind.

We realise the importance of power and performance; we do not sacrifice one for the other. From the latest OMAP 4 platform and WiLink 7.0 combo connectivity solution, TI's offerings all echo the spirit of high performance at low power levels.

What are the biggest threats and/or challenges lurking on the horizon for mobile handset chip vendors as a whole?
We see the success of the mobile handset market continuing well into the future. There are roadblocks in any industry, but even challenging times show consumers' continued reliance on and affection for their mobile devices as a key means of personalisation and communication.

What are you offering?
TI offers a full range of technologies, from our proven OMAP applications processor to our highly integrated connectivity solutions, innovative DLP Pico projection technology, analogue and power management components, and more.

TI continues to invest in mobile technologies that change the way people experience content and interact with their devices. The combination of TI's broad-reaching technologies provides the foundation for consumers to radically change how they use mobile devices.

What's your differentiation from other mobile chip vendors? And why will it succeed?
There are a handful of thing that set TI apart from other chip vendors, and two particular attributes are the company's wireless experience and broad product portfolio—two things that we believe are unmatched in the industry. TI has more than a decade of experience in the wireless industry and in incubating customer relationships.

TI's complete, proven wireless roadmap and "one-stop-shop" approach helps these customers develop differentiated mobile handsets for all market segments. For example, TI's OMAP 4 platform integrates a number of components, including the processor, image signal processor, analogue solutions, power management IC and more, into one complete offering.

The platform also includes a comprehensive software suite that lowers R&D costs. This total integration decreases system costs for manufacturers looking to enable the hottest features on mobile devices.

With our proven OMAP processors, we offer a discrete architecture, with the modem and applications processor located on separate chips. This approach offers several advantages over integrated offerings, including more differentiation options and faster time to market.

To maximise flexibility to address new applications and to get to market quickly, we believe there are significant advantages when you compare best-in-class stand-alone processors (like the OMAP processor) with best-in-class integrated solutions.

Our integrated connectivity combo solutions also stand out from the crowd. The latest offering, the WiLink 7.0 solution, is the industry's first to integrate Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS and FM transmit/receive on a true single chip. The WiLink 7.0 solution echoes TI's leadership in connectivity coexistence and robust connections. This new chip builds on seven generations of proven connectivity technologies, and includes advancements in each of the four cores.

- Bolaji Ojo
EE Times

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