Infineon tunes its 3G transceiver for Motorola

MUNICH, Germany — Infineon has received a major order from Motorola to tailor an 3G transceiver chip based on its existing 'Smarti UE' device. The move helps Infineon to further broaden its customer base.

The Smarti UE, presently available in engineering samples, is a multimode single-chip 3G RF transceiver which supports HSDPA, HSUPA and the 2.5G technology EDGE. Infineon will add several pieces of Motorola IP to the chip, a company spokesperson explained. While Smarti UE is scheduled for mass production in Q2 2008, Infineon expects the modified version will be ready for production about two quarters later. “Of course we will not only engineer the device but we expect also to manufacture it,” the spokesperson said.

According to an Infineon press release, Motorola selected the Munich-based chip vendor for slim design, performance, power efficiency and other reasons. “We are pleased to enter this strategic relationship with Motorola to create an advanced 3G RF solution,” said Stefan Wolff, Vice President and General Manager of Infineon's RF Engine Business Unit. Wolff announced that the new chip will reduce size and footprint for the next generation 3G devices.

While in 2006 GSM-based technologies account for almost 70 percent of all handsets produced, Market Researcher Gartner expects the market will rapidly switch to 3G-based technologies over the coming years. “The main 3G variant is W-CDMA (including HSPA and LTE) which will be produced in high volumes in 2010, representing 56 percent of total production,” explained Gartner Market Research Director Alan Brown.

With the move, Infineon makes progress in diversifying its customer base. After having relied heavily on insolvent BenQ Mobile as its largest customer, Infineon recognized it had to broaden its customer base. In February, the company scored at Nokia with a contract to supply its ULC single chip solution. The takeover of LSI's mobile device business in August gave Infineon Access to Samsung's handset portfolio. According to teardown analysis, Infineon also supplies the baseband processor for Apple's iPhone.

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