IBM has unveiled its CMOS 7RF SOI semiconductor technology. The company claims the new chips will provide a single chip solution for RF front ends in cellphones.
Presently five to seven chips are used to take handle all six RF front end functions and at least two of those are based on more expensive gallium arsenide technology.
GaAs based chips can handle power surges much better than CMOS. However, IBM solved the issue by dividing the input across several layers which is supposed to keep the surges at bay. IBM claims it can achieve similar performance with its 180nm CMOS based integrated chip, at only a fraction of the cost.
The first chips will be shipped to mobile phone manufacturers in 2008, while the first phones based on IBM's CMOS technology are expected in 2009. The company believes the majority of CMOS chips will be used in low cost handsets aimed at the rapidly growing Indian, Chinese and Latin American market.