Thursday, June 17, 2010

Anadigics Stock Price Jumps as Trading Opens

According to the Boston Globe today, shares of Anadigics jumped ahead of regular trading Thursday after a Stifel Nicolaus analyst upgraded the stock, saying the company's earnings are likely to beat expectations in the second half of the year. Stifel Nicolaus analyst Patrick Newton raised the company to "Buy" from "Hold" and gave it a price target of $5.50.

Newton said he expects the company to be taking a bigger share of the market as the year goes on. He said that should help the company's earnings outstrip Wall Street forecasts in the near term. Further out, the company's quarterly revenue of about $80 million to $90 million should pick up to $160 million to $200 million, Newton said. Anadigics shares rose 25 cents, or 6.2 percent, to $4.25 in premarket trading.

Find out what Anadigics it doing right in Microwave Journal interview with Mario Rivas, CEO of Anadigics:

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Low Cost 2.4 GHz Weatherproof Antennas Targets M2M Apps

Since Pat has brought up the topic of antennas with his blog about this component's "five minutes of fame" sharing the stage with Steve Jobs as the Apple founder introduced the new 4G iPhone, I thought I would share the following product release that came across my desk today as well. After all, any RF/microwave device targeting Smart grid applications has as much of a cool factor as any in the latest smartphone. Well, maybe not. But helping to save the planet by being green gets my seal of approval.

Pulse, a Technitrol Company (NYSE: TNL), a manufacturer of electronic components and subassembly design and manufacturing, introduces its new low cost, weatherproof antennas for 2.4 GHz devices used in industrial, smart grid metering, security, broadband access, and other machine-to-machine(M2M) applications. These robust, high-efficiency, compact antennas meet Bluetooth, WLAN, WiFi, IEEE 802.11b/g, ZigBee IEEE 802.15.4, and 2.4 GHz ISM band system standards.

Pulse's W5001, W5010, and W5011 antennas function in ruggedized conditions, offering IP65 water ingress protection in accordance with international standard IEC 60529, UV protection, and the ability to withstand 100 mph wind loading. They have a maximum gain of 1.5 dBi in the 2,400 to 2,500 MHz range, an efficiency of 70%, and an operating temperature range of -40°C to 85°C. The antennas have a small footprint and low profile, measuring only 128mm x 18mm.

Pulse's W5001, W5010, and W5011 antennas are available in three SMA connector configurations: fixed right angle, straight SMA, and RP-SMA. They are packaged in quantities of 20 pieces per bag. Additional information regarding these antennas is available on the Pulse website at

Antenna Design Enables Multi-band iPhone 4

It is not often that RF technology is one of the leading features mentioned in the release of a new phone even though it is the the enabling technology for wireless devices, but one of the main features mentioned in the iPhone 4 announcement was the external antenna design. Apple cleverly uses the stainless steel band around the phone as a the antenna for GSM, UMTS, WiFi, GPS and Bluetooth (there are spaces separating the multiple antennas around the phone - photo via This is an amazing example of maximizing the antenna size (for better performance) and minimizing the space it occupies. The iPhone has been notorious for dropping calls so it was imperative that Apple did something about this issue and featured it in the announcement. This could be the future of the way antennas are designed into phones and should improve the performance of the phone especially at lower frequencies where larger antennas are typically provide better performance.

Antenna technology is really being pushed to its limits with all of the different frequencies they have to accommodate in smart phones as they need to connect via multiple cellular bands, WiFi, Bluetooth and receive GPS signals not to mention the coming of mobile TV and video which may require even more frequencies. Tunable antennas seem to be the upcoming technology as a single antenna might be used for all the frequencies by changing its impedance to optimize performance at various frequencies but this can lead to other issues. Most of these tunable antenna are still in development so using the space around the phone body of the phone is an ingenious way to free up board space that would be taken up by multiple antennas. Apparently, the iPad also uses a similar approach where the antenna is the LCD frame around the screen.

One draw back (which must have been considered in the design) is that touching the antenna body will change it characteristics significantly, so I would be curious how that affected the design. There will also be people who will question the radiation being directly in contact with the skin, but I don't think there is much difference in having the antenna touch your skin versus being a few millimeters away inside the phone (the phone is now only 9.3 mm thick).

The new antenna design in the iPhone 4 could revolutionize the way in which antennas are designed in future phones and has enabled Apple to reduce the size of the phone while improving performance to solve the problem of dropped calls and poor reception. Do you think this is the future of antenna design for phones?

On another note, I noticed in the iPhone teardown of the prototype on Gizmodo showed that the Skyworks FEM is again the winner for the RF section last the previous iPhone design. That is a big win for them (I could not make out if there were any additional FEMs on the board).

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cell Phone Market Forecast by Forward Concepts

Forward Concepts has published an in-depth study of the worldwide cellphone market and the associated ecosystem of subscribers, operators and technologies. Some of the key findings from the study are:

  • Worldwide unit cellphone shipments fell by 0.5% in 2009, as the entire electronics market was muted by global economic conditions. They are forecasting a much healthier 11% growth in 2010 to 1.4 billion units.
  • Unit growth varies markedly by region, with China's market forecast to grow by 23% in 2010, while Western Europe's will grow by a more sedate 4%.
  • India will lead in subscriber growth this year, growing an estimated 30% compared to China's 7%.
  • Apple exhibited the greatest unit growth of all cellphone vendors in 2009, with an 83% growth. Following Apple was Tianyu with 68%, NEC with 46%, RIM with 44%, Inventec with 23%, LGE with 21%, TCL and Huawei each with 17%, Samsung with 16% and HTC with 10%. Of course, the lesser-known companies began with smaller shipment bases.
  • In smartphones, ZTE had the highest 2009 unit growth, at 160%, with revenues of $400 million in that category, followed by Apple's 83% growth, but with much higher revenues of $13.8 billion.
  • Smartphones, such as those by RIM, Apple and HTC get the most press, but they only constitute 13% of the unit cellphone market, while so-called feature phones make up 25%.
  • Budget cellphones, popular in India, China and Africa presently make up 23% of the market, while mid-range units account for the largest market, at 39%. We forecast that the budget market will flatten as their replacements will lead to better growth of mid-range models.