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Nujira mass produced silicon chips rival GaAs for 4G smartphones

Using envelope tracking, these devices reduce power consumption to extend battery life

Nujira has extended its partnership agreement with TowerJazz, as its new NCT-L1300 ET chip is geared up for volume production.

With Envelope Tracking (ET) technology heading towards a 100 percent attach rate in 4G smartphones by 2014, Nujira is building a network of supply chain partners to ensure its chip enters the market seamlessly and is able to meet volume and quality demands.

ET is the leading technology being developed to reduce power consumption of 4G smartphones in order to extend battery life. ET dynamically adapts the Power Amplifier (PA) supply voltage to the signal amplitude, and thus dramatically reducing the power consumption of the PA that transmits the signal to the antenna.

Annual revenue for analogue application specific ICs for 4G mobile handsets forecast to grow from $827 million in 2012 to $2.9 billion by 2017, an estimated CAGR of 29 percent.

Anyone who uses 4G phones experiences an empty battery much earlier than with 3G, sometimes in the middle of the day. There are several technologies being developed in order to reduce power consumption of such phones. But recently, ET interfaces have become standardised on LTE basebands, paving the way to a very high adoption rate of this technology.

Nujira believes it is well positioned to take a large portion of the ET market. According to global information provider, IHS, the annual revenue for analogue application specific ICs for 4G mobile handsets is forecast to grow from $827 million in 2012 to $2.9 billion by 2017, a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 29 percent for the next five years.

Nujira selected TowerJazz, a specialty foundry and fifth largest foundry worldwide, as its manufacturing partner in early 2012.

The NCT-L1300 is fabricated in TowerJazz’s 0.18 µm RF CMOS technology, used in hundreds of millions of RF front end devices, with additional uniquely fitted HV modules. Nujira’s NCT-L1300 delivers power conversion efficiencies in excess of 80 percent, effectively doubling the efficiency of existing solutions.

Tim Haynes, CEO, Nujira says, “Over the last year we’ve built an excellent relationship with TowerJazz; its processes offer us the ideal combination of high performance analogue and power management capabilities. Nujira’s ET ICs have the highest bandwidth, widest voltage range, fastest slew rates, and lowest output impedance in the market, placing significant demands on the underlying process technology. TowerJazz meets all of these stringent requirements and works closely with us to ensure a high success rate and competitive time to market.”

“As the world’s largest specialty analogue foundry, TowerJazz offers us the experience and capacity to address the high volume smartphone market, and enables us to meet the price points demanded by the world’s largest smartphone vendors. Moving our new IC into volume production is a critical step for our business, and with its process expertise, wafer capacity and security of supply across multiple fabs, TowerJazz is the right foundry partner for Nujira,” adds Haynes.

“Nujira’s technology has huge potential, with ET technology heading towards a 100 percent attach rate in LTE smartphones in 2014. We are excited to be their partner and to be supporting them in volume production of their NCT-L1300. Nujira’s chips combine wireless communications and smart energy, which are two high growth focus areas for TowerJazz,” notes Russell Ellwanger,TowerJazz CEO.

“As one of the world’s largest foundries and with capacity on three continents, TowerJazz offers a unique combination of speciality processes and wafer capacity, enabling high growth fabless IC companies like Nujira to rely on us as their silicon supplier.”

The NCT-L1300 is packaged in a low-profile Wafer-Level Chip Scale Package,and started sampling to lead customers in June.
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