Report: Envelope tracking, MMPAs, CMOS PAs, antenna tuning, and MIMO to change handset RF design

May 14, 2012 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
A report from Mobile Experts highlights three new technologies which will revolutionize the market for RF components in mobile devices.

"We have five disruptive trends at the same time: envelope tracking (ET), multimode multiband power amplifiers (MMPA), CMOS PAs, antenna tuning, and MIMO," explained Joe Madden, Principal Analyst at Mobile Experts. "Taken together, these changes will create a wholly new architecture for 2015 handsets, tablets, and PCs.

"The number of frequency bands and modes in a mobile handset is growing rapidly. Mobile device OEMs are faced with runaway cost, if they support all of the LTE frequency bands that are coming. Even with these new technologies, the RF content in a high-end smartphone will increase from $6 to $10 over five years.

"Mobile Experts investigated each technology individually, but we found that each disruptive technology is related to the others. CMOS amplifiers will use envelope tracking technology. Tuning elements will be used for impedance matching. MIMO will drive huge market growth for antennas and filters. We interviewed more than 50 companies to thoroughly investigate the interplay between all of these new trends."

Handset RF Front Ends: MMPAs, ET, Tuning, FEMs, and MIMO includes 150 pages of analysis, with 138 charts and exhibits.

The market study is intended to thoroughly cover the licensed-band radio components in mobile devices and the introduction of multiple new technologies into the mobile RF front end. It is not intended to provide deep technical analysis, but instead aims to provide enough technical information to explain the fundamental advantages or disadvantages of one technology versus another.