Friday, January 15, 2010

Google Nexus One - Skyworks, Qualcomm & BroadCom Winners

I love the group at ifixit.com who is always one of the first ones to buy new phones and tear it down to the chip level to see who is powering the guts of the latest phone. They did the Google Nexus One tear down last week and Qualcomm seemed to be a big winner with at least 3 chips including 2 processors and a power management chip.

For us RF geeks, Broadcom supplies an 802.11n WiFi chip giving the device high capacity WiFi access which is not enabled in the current iPhone. Skyworks is supplying the critical GSM power amp (SKY77336) and just announced this big win with a press release. They are also on the iPhone so they have been getting into the high profile phones. They are on the HTC reference design so this should get them into a lot of the Andriod based phones as HTC is manufacturing them for several companies. Looking at the Motorola Droid tear down; however, TriQuint and Avago are listed as the FEM chips.

The initial sales numbers for the Nexus One seem very minimal as it was kind of a soft launch. It seems the phone is primarily purchased online from Google with a T-mobile account or as a full priced unlocked phone. Google does not seem concerned with selling a large number of units but rather just showing off the capabilities of Android so that other manufacturers will emulate the phone in the way they think it should be done.

Do you think this strategy will pay off? Will any current handsets compete with the iPhone??

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Keep that phone out of your trousers

De-Kun Li's new epidemiological study shows that extended exposure to weak magnetic fields as low as 1.6 mG (0.16 ┬ÁT) can have negative effects on sperm quality, so says the results of a report published by Reproductive Toxicology.

"This is the first demonstration of a link between EMF exposure and the decline of semen quality," Li told Microwave News. The study, which was carried out in Shanghai, has important implications for overall fertility because approximately 40% of the Shanghai population is exposed to more than 1.6 mG for 2.4 hours on a daily basis.

The study, a collaboration with Chinese researchers, documented detrimental effects on a number of different indices of male fertility including semen morphology, motility, density and vitality. The effect on sperm quality follows a dose-response relationship: the longer the daily exposure above 1.6 mG, the greater the risk. Men who were exposed for more than six hours a day were three-to-four times more likely to have decreased fertility. The research team notes that the real risk is probably higher. "[S]ince everyone is exposed to some levels of magnetic fields, we did not have a totally 'unexposed' reference group in our study population. Therefore, the magnitude of the effect observed in this study is likely underestimated," they note.

They also comment that what they have seen is biologically "plausible" because experimental studies in China and Korea have shown that magnetic fields can affect the reproductive system of mice.

Li first announced this finding at a scientific conference a year ago last summer: see our post of July 3, 2008. Now the full details are available in the new paper. Li is with Kaiser Permanente in Oakland, CA.

Deleterious effects have now been shown for both power-frequency EMFs and RF/microwave radiation (see "Keep That Phone Out of Your Trouser Pocket!"). The same mechanism could be at work at both high and low frequencies," Li said.