Edge chips enable mobile phones

Agere Systems’ new ‘Sceptre HPE’ wireless two-chip set and software has been developed to allow designers to build Class 10 EDGE-enhanced feature phones and Smartphones. The package is also capable of supporting Class 12 EDGE operation whenever an appropriate network is deployed.

Class 10 EDGE technology enables phone users to download data at speeds of more than 200Kbits/sec and upload at speeds exceeding 100 Kbits/sec, roughly three times the data rate of GPRS mobile service.

The two-chip solution handles digital baseband, power management and mixed signal functions as well as processing. It also supports a USB interface, infrared (IrDA) capability, removable secure digital (SD) and multimedia memory cards (MMC), and Bluetooth, allowing users to easily exchange digital pictures, audio and other files between a mobile phone and such devices as PCs and PDAs.

Sceptre HPE supports quad band operation (850/900/1800/1900MHZ) and quad codec support (HR/FR/EFR/AMR), enabling phones that can be used across all existing GSM networks in Europe, Asia and America, which accounts for more than 70% of the world’s cell phones. Agere’s software has been developed to the GSM Release 99 specification and qualified to the GCF 3.11.1 and NAPRD 2.10.0 test specifications.

In use, Agere claims that a solution based around the hardware/software combo will allow for 180 minutes of talk time and more than 600 hours of standby time in a phone with a standard 600mA battery.

Engineering samples of Agere’s Sceptre HPE chip set and software are available this month, with production quantities expected in early 2004.

For network operators, EDGE infrastructure can be installed over existing GSM/GPRS networks, allowing operators to generate additional revenue streams through such high-speed wireless data applications as real-time audio and video streaming, digital photo imaging, MP3 music capabilities, MPEG4 video playback and interactive games.

Industry analyst firm Strategy Analytics estimates that EDGE-enabled phones will account for 20% of GSM handset shipments world-wide by the end of 2005.

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