Qualcomm has become the staple for smartphone manufacturers. They have a majority hold over the silicon space, and it’s frankly hard to imagine why they haven’t yet had a hand in producing every part of a smartphone. However, that is exactly what Qualcomm is aiming to do at some point this year. Almost a year ago to the date, Qualcomm revealed a new piece of technology that could aid them in achieving their goal of dealing with all aspects of a phone. Their product, called the RF360, supposedly builds a better set of RF technologies that are more power friendly, more compact, and supports the largest number of LTE bands that are used around the world. So far, the device does not exist as a whole, but rather certain aspects of it are being used in different phones. The chip consists of 6 bands, and antenna matching tuner, an envelope power tracker, and power amp & antenna switch, and an RF POP. The Google Nexus 5 and the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 use the envelope tracker, which drastically reduces the power drain on a phone when it connects to a tower, while Nokia is using the antenna tuner in the Lumia 1520.
Now I bet you are wondering what the RF POP bit is all about. According to Cristiano Amon, Executive Vice President and co-president of Qualcomm, the RF POP is the magic piece that ties everything together. It is a 3D circuit that can support up to 40 different 2G, 3G, and LTE bands when paired with one of Qualcomm’s baseband chips. This tech, along with the power amplifier, is expected to make it into devices later this year. The benefits of all these technologies being put into one phone are huge. Basically, we could see the first globally usable smartphone sometime in the next year or two, should everything go right for Qualcomm. Vendors could cut down on variants of phones for different bands, reducing production costs.
Qualcomm’s end goal here is to create an all-in-one device that runs exclusively on Qualcomm tech, rather than using outside components from specialty companies like RF Micro Devices, Avago Technologies, and Skyworks. We can hopefully see this device sometime later this year, and it will be interesting to see how it pans out. As with any innovation, Qualcomm is not the only one working on this. There are plenty of other companies attempting to specialize this tech at the same time. At this point, it is simply a matter of who comes out with it first. Any thoughts? Let us know below!