Thursday, July 7, 2011

ABI Research Teardown: Samsung Galaxy S II Shows Interesting RF Design-ins

I received this ABI Research promo today and found some interesting RF findings in the Samsung Galaxy S II, a new flagship member of Samsung's Android smartphone lineup. As part of its new Teardown Research Service, ABI Research has dismantled, analyzed, and tested the device down to the component level. If you are looking to keep up with the latest technology in 2011, the Galaxy S II is a good place to start.

Samsung Galaxy IC.jpg

According to ABI Research vice president of engineering James Mielke, “Samsung started from scratch with this phone: almost every component is new. Its application processor is the most powerful on the market at present. It is the first to use the Samsung Exynos 4210 dual-core application processor (a competitor to NVIDIA’s dual-core Tegra 2). The name Exynos combines Greek words for ‘smart’ and ‘green,’ indicating Samsung’s energy-efficiency goals for the design.”

Major changes include:

  • Exynos dual-core apps processor. 118.8 mm2 die size with amperage specs roughly similar to the Tegra 2

  • New single-packaged multi-band multi-mode PA from RFMD

  • New CMOS-based antenna switch

  • New lower-power XMM6260 cellular chipset from Infineon

Mielke sums up: “Samsung took many risks by combining all these new technologies into one phone. But ABI Research believes those risks will pay off; the Galaxy S II sets a new benchmark for almost every category on which a smartphone is measured.”

ABI Research’s “Samsung Galaxy S II Teardown” report provides detailed photos, process evaluation, and part descriptions for all of the major components such as power amplifier, power management, baseband processor, RF, Bluetooth, GPS, WiLAN, and many discretes. Tying all this information together are unique circuit board photos, performance measurements, cost information, and board area data.

RFMD has been promoting the use of their newer multi-band, multi-mode PAs and it has paid off in this design-in. This is the future of PAs that can support many bands with one device especially as LTE will add many new bands to the already numerous ones current phones have to support.

Microwave Journal has also reported that lower cost CMOS switches have now achieved performance on par with GaAs switches for lower power applications and would make their way into handsets very soon. And here they are!

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