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Exploring the foundation under smartphones

01 Jul 2007

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The next generation of smartphones and PDAs will rely on unprecedented integration to deliver their features at the lowest possible bill-of-materials cost. But that doesn't mean they will be single-chip devices. Far from it, radio chips, base band processors and application processors are likely to remain in separate packages. Around that core, a community of memory, support and interface chips threatens to spring up and choke off the hope of cost control. To get an idea of the complexity of these hardware platforms and the challenge that integrators face, EDN looked into a smartphone/PDA reference design board from Sophia Systems, which the company based on the Marvell PXA320 (codename, "Monahans") integrated application processor. Remember: This board contains no radio or base band hardware, and the chip it uses contains L2 cache, a DDR DRAM controller, a 2D-graphics engine, a 768kB frame buffer, an LCD controller, a camera interface and a host of I/O controllers.

Click here for Illustration.




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