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MWC: Qualcomm debuts modem-to-antenna tech

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At Mobile World Congress last week, Qualcomm Technologies, announced that the entire Qualcomm RF Front End (RFFE) modem-to-antenna solution and the Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform with X20 Gigabit LTE, and 4K HDR video capture, are featured in Sony Mobile’s Xperia XZ2 smartphone. 

Qualcomm Technologies is the first company in the semiconductor industry to deliver a comprehensive solution from modem to antenna ports for use in a leading premium smartphone. Utilizing Qualcomm Technologies’ comprehensive solution – including for the first time, the entire Qualcomm RFFE suite – allows Sony Mobile to benefit from system level optimization which facilitates the delivery of global platforms with superior connectivity performance and power efficiency.

The Qualcomm RFFE solution harnesses radio complexity and simplifies the implementation of global Gigabit LTE in mobile devices with a system-level design spanning a suite of RFFE products that utilize modem intelligence and are tightly integrated in a set of comprehensive global RF front end modules. It also helps OEMs to provide superior RF performance and power efficiency to support high data rates in real world networks.

Qualcomm Technologies’ modem-to-antenna solution comprises a suite of RFFE components including:

  • Power Amplifier Modules including Duplexers (PAMiDs). The QPM2621, QPM2632 and QPM2643 PAMiDs support the global low, mid and high bands respectively and integrate our suite of PAs, duplexers/filters including SAW, TC-SAW and BAW technologies, switches and an antenna coupler.
  • QET4100 Envelope Tracker (ET). The envelope tracker utilizes modem intelligence to dynamically adjust the voltage supplied to the radio frequency (RF) amplifier to support peak operating efficiency thereby reducing power consumption and heat.
  • Advanced Antenna Tuning. QAT3550 Impedance Tuner provide advanced adaptive antenna tuning. This technology utilizes modem intelligence to dynamically optimize the antenna match with the active transmit and receive frequencies to mitigate signal degradation from hand blocking, metal back designs and other effects, and is designed to improve throughput, call reliability and reduced power/battery consumption.
  • QDM3620, QDM3630, QDM3640 Diversity Receive Modules. These diversity receive modules combine our switches, BAW and SAW filters and low-noise amplifiers into a highly integrated module that is a user-friendly solution for implementing high-order MIMO and diversity receive paths for global LTE Advanced and Gigabit LTE architectures.

The QPM2621, QPM2632, QPM2643 PAMiDs, QAT3550 antenna impedance tuner, and QDM3620, QDM3630, QDM3640 diversity receive modules are supported for use with the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem and Snapdragon 845 Mobile Platform.

“With the proliferation of 4G frequencies and devices, coupled with 5G devices coming soon, OEMs and operators will be challenged to deliver high-quality user experiences while considering cost- and time-efficiency in developing mobile devices that work around the globe on a variety of networks,” said Christian Block, senior vice president and general manager, Qualcomm’s RF front end business unit. “Sony Mobile’s integration of Qualcomm Technologies’ RFFE modem-to-antenna solution showcases how Qualcomm Technologies works with customers to provide the tools they need to create new devices that can address the requirements and opportunities offered by Gigabit LTE and future 5G networks.”

With increasingly crowded networks, operators are challenged to bring maximum coverage and advanced features to users. Qualcomm RFFE modem-to-antenna solution is engineered to help operators maximize the use of all licensed, shared and unlicensed spectrum assets while delivering superior network coverage, device performance and worldwide roaming. With this solution, device OEMs can scale their products globally with support of hundreds of carrier aggregation and 4×4 MIMO combinations delivering connection speeds up to 1.2 Gigabit per second LTE.

“We are pleased to work closely with Qualcomm Technologies as we continue to introduce innovative smartphones,” said Izumi Kawanishi, director, executive vice president, product business group, Sony Mobile Communications Inc. “Qualcomm Technologies’ enables excellent RF Front End performance across low, mid and high bands, and its comprehensive tightly integrated modem-RFFE interaction, provides the system level optimization we need to deliver the best-in-class mobile experience our customers expect.”

As the radio environment becomes more complex, a well-designed, advanced RFFE system is critical to the mobile experiences end-users demand from their devices and to prepare for the launch of 5G devices. Qualcomm Technologies’ comprehensive modem-to-antenna solutions are optimized to support exceptional connection reliability, blazing-fast data speeds, superior indoor/outdoor coverage, world roaming capability and long battery life.

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Android Go puts reliable smartphones in budget pockets

Nokia, Vodacom and Huawei have all launched entry-level smartphones running the Android Go edition, and all deliver a smooth experience, writes BRYAN TURNER.

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Three new and notable Android Go smartphones have recently hit the market, namely the Nokia 1, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 and the Huawei Y3 (2018). These phones run one of the most basic versions of Android while still delivering a fairly smooth user experience.

Historically, consumers purchasing smartphones in the budget bracket would have a hit-and-miss experience with processing speed, smoothness of user interface, and app stability. The Google-supported Android Go edition operating system optimises the user experience by stripping out non-important visual effects to speed up the phone. Thish allows for more memory to be used by apps. 

Google also ensures that all smartphones running Android Go will receive feature and security updates as they are released by Google. This is a major selling point for these smartphones, as users of this smartphone will always be running the latest software, with virtually no manufacturer bloatware.

Vodafone Smart Kicka 4

At the lowest entry-level, the Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performs well as a communicator for emails and WhatsApp messages. The 4” screen represents a step up for entry-level Android phones, which were previously standardised at 3.5”.

The display is bright and very responsive, while the limited screen real estate leaves the navigation keys off the screen as touch buttons. It uses 3G connectivity, which might seem like an outdated technology, but is good enough to stream SD videos and music. Vodacom has also thrown in some data gifts if the smartphone is activated before the end of September 2018. 

Its camera functionalities might be a slight let down for the aspirant Instagrammer, with a 2MP rear flash camera and a 0.3MP selfie snapper. Speed wise, the keyboard pops up quickly, which is a huge improvement from the Smart Kicka 3. However, this phone will not play well with graphics-intensive games. 

Nokia 1

Next up is the Nokia 1, which adds a much better 5MP camera, improved battery life and a bigger 4.5” screen. It supports LTE, which allows this smartphone to download and upload at the speed of flagships. It also sports the Nokia brand name, which many consumers trust.

Although the front camera is 2MP, the quality is extremely grainy, even with good lighting. This disqualifies this smartphone for the social media selfie snapper, but the 5MP rear camera will work for the landscape and portrait photographer. 

The screen also redeems this smartphone, providing a display which represents colours truly and has great viewing angles. Xpress-on back covers allows the use of interchangeable, multi-coloured back covers, which has proven to be a successful sales point for mid-range smartphones in the past. 

Huawei Y3 (2018)

The most capable of the Android Go edition competitors, the Huawei Y3 (2018) packs an even bigger screen at 5”, as well as an improved 8MP rear camera and HD video recording. The screen is the brightest and most vibrant of the three smartphones, but seems to be calibrated to show colours a little more saturated than they actually are. 

Nevertheless, the camera outperforms the other smartphones with good colour replication and great selfie capabilities via the 2MP front camera – far superior to the Nokia 1 despite the same spec. LTE also comes standard with this smartphone and Vodacom throws in 4G/LTE data goodies until the end of September 2018. The battery, however, is not removable and may only be replaced by a warranty technician.

Comparing the 3

All three smartphones have removable back covers, which provide access to the battery, SIM card and SD card slots. The smartphones have Micro USB ports on the bottom with headphone jacks on the top. The built-in speakers all performed well, with the Y3 (2018) housing an exceptionally loud built-in speaker. 

Although all at different price points, all three phones remain similar in performance and speed. The differentiators are apparent in the components, like camera quality and screen quality. It would be fair to rank the quality of the camera and battery life by respective market prices. The Vodafone Smart Kicka 4 performed well, for its R399 retail price. The Nokia 1, on the other hand, lags quite a bit in features when compared to the Huawei Y3 (2018), bwith oth retailing at R999.

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SA gets digital archive

As the world entered the centenary of Nelson Mandela’s birth on Mandela Day, 18 July 2018, South Africa celebrated the launch of a digital living archive. 

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The southafrica.co.za  site carries content about the country’s collective heritage in South Africa’s eleven official languages.

Designed as a nation building,  educational and brand promotion web based tool, the free-to-view platform features award-winning photographic and written content by leading South African photographers, authors, academics and photojournalists.

The emphasis is on quality, credible, factual content that celebrates a collective heritage in terms of the following: Cultural Heritage; Natural Heritage; Education; History; Agriculture; Industry; Mining; and Travel.

At the same time as reflecting on the nation’s history, southafrica.co.za celebrates South Africa’s natural, cultural and economic assets so that the youth can learn about their nation in their home language.

Southafrica.co.za Founder and CEO Hans Gerrizen conceptualised southafrica.co.za as a means for youth and communities from outlying areas to benefit from the digital age in terms of the web tool’s empowering educational component.

“We can only stand to deepen our collective experience of democracy and become a more forward planning nation if we know facts about our nation’s past and present in everyone’s home language,” he says.

Southafrica.co.za, with sister company Siyabona Africa, is the organiser and sponsor of the Mandela: 100 Moments photographic exhibition that runs until 30 September at Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront-based Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island.  The 3-month exhibition, which runs daily from 08h00 until 15h00, is showcasing one hundred iconic Nelson Mandela images taken by veteran South African photojournalist and self-taught lensman Peter Magubane.

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