(iTers News) - Intel Corp’s acquisition of Infineon’s wireless business unit is finally reaching fruition. The PC microchip giant is to roll out a 4G LTE baseband chip, XMM7160 sometime in June, or July. The roll-out marks a major turning point in its years-long struggle to carve out places in mobile SoC market, as it provide a momentum to make a significant dent into formidable rival Qualcomm’s stronghold.
After it bought the wireless business unit of Infineon back in August 2010 for US41.4 billion, Intel has supplied 2G and 3G baseband chips. While rival Qualcomm captured 56% of global cellular baseband market in 2012, however, Intel took up just a 12% market share, according to market research firm Strategy Analytics.
The absence of its 4G LTE cellular baseband chips was mainly blamed for the wide gap with Qualcomm in the market share, as the industry is rapidly shifting away from the 2G and 3G network into the far speedier 4G technology. For example, Qualcomm almost monopolized the 4G LTE baseband processor market, commanding a 97% share.
The unavailability of low power mobile SoC, or applications processors was blamed, too. Cellular baseband processors are mainly used in the smart phones to do RF signal modulation and demodulation, encoding and radio signal handling. Meanwhile, mobile SoC, or applications processors, the brain of a smart phone, usually do perform multimedia processing and ALU, or arithmetic and logic functions.
Momentous design win
Both of the two chips are embedded together in a single silicon die, or separately paired together in a module to work out their respective functionality.
As mobile phone makers prefer to do an one-stop shopping for both of the two chips or an integrated one chip solution, rather than separately purchasing them, having them on both hands is a key to securing a significant portion of the mobile SoC market. This helps explain why Qualcomm corners the vast majority of global mobile SoC market. It also provides a clue to why Intel Corp. acquired the cellular baseband chip business from Infineon.
Intel plans to separately pair the XMM 7160 with Clover Trail, or Bay Trail + mobile applications processors, or pack them together in a single silicon die. Intel’s strategy is to deliver low-power, global modem solutions that work across multiple bands, regions and devices.
Intel's XMM 7160 is one of the world's smallest and lowest-power multimode-multiband LTE solutions. The baseband processor, modem supports 15 LTE bands simultaneously and also includes a highly configurable RF architecture, running real-time algorithms for envelope tracking and antenna tuning, that enables cost-efficient multiband configurations, extended battery life and global LTE roaming in a single SKU.
It supports multiple devices including smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks.
Shipments of the multimode data 4G LTE will begin sometime in June or July, following final interoperability testing (IOT) with Tier 1 service providers in North America, Europe and Asia.
Encouragingly, Intel won a landmark design-win of its mobile SoC solutions from world’s largest mobile phone maker Samsung Electronics. Its Atom Z2560 processor codenamed Clover Trail + will pair with XMM 7160 4G LTE baseband processor, or XMM 6262 3G modem chip to power Samsung’s newly released Galaxy Tab 3 10.1-inch tablet,