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Renesas Mobile CEO eyes LTE market

Posted: 31 May 2011     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:LTE  modem technology  cloud services  mobile chip vendors 

Medium-term, long-term goals
EET:Many in the semiconductor industry have talked about a "platform" business as a concept for many years. But I heard last week ST-Ericsson CEO Gilles Delfassy saying that "many OEMs have begun changing their behaviour from buying components [from several suppliers] to pre-integrated 'platform' chips from a single source." This trend has become increasingly clear only in the last year or so, he said. Do you agree?

Kawasaki: Yes. Absolutely. Our customers are no longer interested in handpicking individual components. They tell us to bring the entire platform solution including everything from modem to application processor and connectivity chips, all thoroughly tested to work well as a smartphone platform.

EET: I don't see Renesas' SH core in your application processor. Whatever happened to that?

Kawasaki: It's invisible to people, but it's still there. SH functions as a multimedia controller—controlling graphics and controlling displays.
The OS, however, runs on ARM. As long as our customers use the SH core, we will leave it in there, but once it becomes unnecessary, we'll take it out.

EET: Where are you manufacturing your modem and application processor chips, and which geometry are you using?

Kawasaki: Our current modem chip and application processor are both using a 45nm CMOS process, which are manufactured in two places –TSMC and Renesas' Naka fab. (the Naka fab was damaged by the recent earthquake.)
Our new single-chip modem/application processor will be mass-produced in 2012 at TSMC using a 28nm process technology.

EET: What do you see as Renesas Mobile's challenge—in the medium term?

Kawasaki: Right now, we're getting a lot of traction for our mobile SoCs.

We're bombarded with requests. We also laid out our roadmap to 2013 to our customers. Our challenge is all about execution—making sure to develop products according to specs and on time.

EET: What about your long-term plans?

Kawasaki: Once our chips begin penetrating the mobile handset market for LTE, we would like to contribute to the industry by helping to establish a new market where LTE chips get designed into a variety of devices other than phones—connected to cloud services. Whether machine to machine or client devices for the cloud services, we would like to take a leadership role in the new era.

EET: Over the last six months, what have you learned from your Nokia colleagues?

Kawasaki: Nokia has brought to us both culture and infrastructure that are truly global. Now at Renesas Mobile, you could have a boss in Helsinki; and when you need help for your team, you don't have to think twice about getting someone from Bangalore.
They work together as a team remarkably well over such a diverse geography and so many time zones. We have teams in Finland, Denmark, U.K., France, Germany, China, India, Taiwan and the U.S., in addition to Japan.
And obviously, most of our employees now need to be able to communicate in English.

- Junko Yoshida
  EE Times

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