Saturday, February 26, 2011

TriQuint and Skyworks Power iPhone 5

The upcoming Apple iPhone 5, due this summer, will be powered by TriQuint and Skyworks PAs. While it is disappointing that it will not have 4G LTE capability, according to an article from The Street about TriQuint, the Apple iPhone 5 will be a full featured world phone equipped with "seven power amplifiers" to improve the wireless reception on the full array of WCDMA and EVDO frequencies in the U.S. and Europe, says Rodman Renshaw analyst Ashok Kumar. This is good news for power amp supplier Triquint, which was left out of the Verizon iPhone 4 this year.

The Street goes on to say that Triquint is back in the iPhone 5 and sharing power amp supply duties with rival Skyworks. "We expect Triquint to gain share and outgrow most of its peers in mobile phones, while improving margins," according to Charter Equity Research analyst Ed Snyder. Snyder says chipmaker Triquint is in a sweet spot as phone makers push for better wireless performance.

Apple's move to improve its wireless reception performance comes after three rough years of complaints about poor service at AT&T. And as industry experts have pointed out, not all of Apple's iPhone connection quality issues were due to AT&T. Apple's effort to design the iPhone to use less power apparently caused some unintended effects with signal jamming. The iPhone was recently released on Verizon and while there does not seem to be major reception complaints, Consumer Reports has said that their tests show the Verizon iPhone 4 version still has some antenna issues when the antenna element gaps is bridged by holding it.

RFMD, Skyworks and TriQuint continue to dominate the cellular front-end market ast the big three but Avago and Anadigics are fighting for larger market share. We are seeing a lot of innovative changes coming in the front-end modules as different configurations are being developed including new switch technologies such as SOI/SOS switches, miniature BAW filters, tunable devices such as MEMS and others, and wide band power amps that can support multiple bands. It will be interesting to see how these technologies play out over the next year or so.

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