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Qualcomm Audio Amplifer Chip for lower tier products

Qualcomm has announced its CSRA6640: a flexible, highly integrated single-chip amplifier solution with Qualcomm Digital Direct Feedback Amplifier (DDFA) technology. This single-chip technology can enable better sound quality in lower tier products.

Click here to read about how this chip can transform sound.

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The chip promises a new level of integration to make superior class-D amplification more commercially viable on smaller form factors and lower tier products, helping manufacturers to create portable and power-efficient speakers that offer truly differentiated audio quality.

Rob Saunders, director of product marketing at Qualcomm Technologies. said: “CSRA6640 enhances our product portfolio with our proven DDFA technology to help bring high-end amplification to lower power applications. It makes the integration of complex, premium amp technology more commercially viable for the first time in small form-factor speakers, sound bars and amplifiers. This solution opens the door for OEMs to help them bring more power efficient amplification capabilities to more compact, cost-effective devices.”

Audio quality is becoming more important to the everyday consumer. According to Qualcomm’s State of Play audio consumer insights report, sound quality was by far the highest ranked buying consideration when choosing wireless headphones or speakers, with 76% of respondents noting it as the most important factor in their buying decision. In addition, almost half of consumers surveyed would like the ability to take a voice-enabled speaker outside and use it on-the-go, indicating a shift in consumer interest towards portability. 

Bringing premium amplifier technology to more portable devices may help manufacturers to address consumer desires for loud audio and sound quality while also looking to meet needs for extended battery life and connectivity.

The chip is also designed to allow audio OEMs to optimize their materials costs by reducing the need for additional external components.

“This new amplifier offering builds on the rich legacy DDFA technology has with premium and high-end audio brands and we hope it will serve as a catalyst to propel audio performance forward in coming years,” said Saunders. “Building on more than ten years of R&D and proven solutions, this product is designed to almost perfectly balance the power efficiency of Class D devices alongside the high-performance audio output of traditional, linear amplifiers.”

Qualcomm produces chips for major brands like Samsung, LG, and Motorola handsets, so it is likely that this audio technology will be coming to the handsets of these companies.

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MWC: How Huawei claims the lead in foldable handsets

The new Huawei Mate X, which unfolds into a tablet, is an attempt to claim the future, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK

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When Huawei announced its answer to Samsung’s Galaxy Fold at Mobile World Congress 2019 in Barcelona on Sunday, it invoked the language of science fiction and space travel to emphasise the futuristic approach of the new Mate X.

The handset is a two-in one smartphone and tablet, using 5G connectivity for speed, a foldable screen for versatility, artificial intelligence for anticipating user needs, and a new mode of interfacing for an enhanced user experience.

Bruce Lee, VP of Handset Business at Huawei Consumer Business Group, with the Mate X unfolded.
Pic by Arthur Goldstuck.

The key to the foldable screen is a Mechanical Hinge called the Falcon Wing, simultaneously invoking the iconic Millennium Falcon and X-Wing spacecraft from Star Wars. The very colour of the device was invented for Huawei, which describes it as an “Interstellar Blue colour wave”. It says it “epitomises the beauty of technology and sets a higher bar for future smartphones”.

And then there is the positioning of the phone: It represents a voyage into the uncharted,” said Richard Yu, CEO of Huawei Consumer Business Group, at the launch, echoing the classic Star Trek slogan, “to boldly go where no phone has gone before”.

Can it be all that? Star Wars, Star Trek and the very future of space travel, all in one device? Of course not, but then this is not science fiction. It is the practical reality of flexible and foldable displays finally entering the mainstream.  The challenge is to convince the public to pay a premium price and, as with the Galaxy Fold, that is unlikely with the first generation of foldables.

What it does do, however, is confirm that Samsung has not been able to take a clear lead in foldables, having beaten Huawei by a mere four days with its announcement, and with a format more clunky than that of the Mate X.

The Samsung Fold has a 4.6-inch front display, and opens up to a 7.3-inch mini-tablet. In dramatic contrast, the Mate X has a massive front display measuring 6.6-inches, folding out into a 8-inch tablet. The fundamental difference is that the Fold display is on the inside of the device, separate from the cover display, while the Mate X is on the outside, allowing the cover screen to transform directly into the tablet display.

This has also allowed the Mate X to follow a more elegant design, with the two halves clipping neatly into the frame of the device. The Fold looks like two phones on top of each other. The result is that the Mate X is two thirds the thickness of the Fold, at 11cm compared to 17cm, when folded. That makes for a far bigger device in fact being far more compact.

Click here to watch the Gadget exclusive Huawei Mate X demo, recorded by Arthur Goldstuck.

Click here to see where Samsung leads, and pricing of the foldable handsets.

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Qualcomm builds chip for IoT

Qualcomm Technologies has announced its next-generation modem purpose-built for Internet of Things (IoT) applications, such as asset trackers, health monitors, security systems, smart city sensors and smart meters, as well as a range of wearable trackers. 

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The new Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem brings together key innovations required to build cellular-enabled IoT products and services in a single chipset, including global multimode LTE category M1 (eMTC) and NB2 (NB-IoT) as well as 2G/E-GPRS connectivity, application processing, geolocation, hardware-based security, support for cloud services and accompanying developer tools.

“The innovations included in the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem are critical to support many of the 6 billion IoT devices expected to use low-power, wide-area connectivity by 2026,” said Vieri Vanghi, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Europe, Inc. “LTE IoT technologies are the foundation of how 5G will help connect the massive IoT, and we are making these technologies available to customers worldwide to help them build innovative solutions that can help transform industries and improve people’s lives.”

Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem technology highlights

  • Global multimode LTE IoT modem and connectivity: Support for both 3GPP release 14 Category M1 and NB2 for operation with networks using any of these LTE IoT modes, as well as 2G/E-GPRS to allow for connectivity in areas where LTE IoT is not yet deployed. Category M1 mode also supports voice for applications such as monitored security panels, and mobility for applications such as asset trackers.
  • RF transceiver with fully integrated front-end: The Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem features an RF transceiver with extended bandwidth support from 450 MHz to 2100 MHz. It also integrates a comprehensive RF front-end, a commercial first in the cellular IoT space, which is designed to greatly simplify the design and certification of products using the new modem, and therefore accelerate time to commercialization.
  • Advanced battery life management: To maximize battery life, the modem couples ultra-low system-level cut-off voltage with provisions for adapting power usage according to the state of charge of the battery.
  • Applications processor: Arm Cortex A7 up to 800MHz with support for ThreadX and AliOS Things real-time operating systems. The integrated applications processor avoids the need for an external microcontroller to improve cost-efficiency, and device security.
  • Geolocation: Integrated global positioning support for Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) including GPS, Beidou, Glonass, and Galileo. The Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem enables design flexibility allowing for the use of either a shared GNSS/LTE antenna or a dedicated one.
  • Hardware-based security: Secure boot from hardware root-of-trust, Qualcomm Trusted Execution Environment, hardware cryptography, storage, and debug security.
  • LTE IoT Software Development Kit (SDK): Designed to support developers in running custom software on the integrated applications processor, as well as to provide them access to additional capabilities of the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem, such as geolocation. The SDK offers pre-integrated support for many cloud platforms, including Alibaba Cloud Link One, China Mobile OneNET, DTSTON DTCloud, Ericsson IoT Accelerator, Gizwits and Verizon ThingSpace, and it also allows developers to extend this integration further and develop support for other major IoT cloud providers.

“The Qualcomm 9205 modem is expanding the IoT ecosystem by providing a solid foundation for future-proof, multimode LTE-M and NB-IoT Cinterion Modules designed to enable superior worldwide LPWAN connectivity as networks evolve,” said Andreas Haegele, SVP IoT products, Gemalto. “Our security enhancements provide a strong framework for unique Gemalto services such as Device Lifecycle Management that help drive down TCO for device makers and IoT service providers.”

“The new Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem is unique in integrating the critical technologies that our customers would need to create cellular-connected IoT solutions,” said Doron Zhang, senior vice president, Quectel. “All its features are put together in a tiny and very energy-efficient chipset that will help Quectel to offer LTE IoT modules that are powerful, economical and with support for superb battery life.”

“The multimode, highly integrated capabilities of the Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem allow us to reduce power consumption and module footprint giving our customers the ability to design and deploy smaller, battery-powered devices that work worldwide on virtually any cellular IoT network,” said Manish Watwani, executive vice president, global product management, Telit. “As a global company, we build on Qualcomm Technologies’ innovations to deliver modules and IoT edge solutions used by companies around the world to improve productivity and deliver exciting new applications.”

The Qualcomm 9205 LTE modem builds on the commercial success of its predecessor which counts more than 110 design-wins to date. Solutions based on the new modem, including modules from Gemalto, Quectel and Telit, are expected to be commercially available in 2019.

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