TI Readying Mobile Phone, Light Projection Combo - InformationWeek

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2/14/2007
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TI Readying Mobile Phone, Light Projection Combo

Texas Instruments is developing a handheld that integrates its moving micromirror technology with its cellular platform.

BARCELONA, Spain — Texas Instruments is developing a handheld that integrates its moving micromirror technology with its cellular platform, Greg Delagi, the newly promoted head of the company's wireless terminals business unit told EE Times Europe .

In an interview at the 3GSM World Congress here, Delagi proudly produced out of his briefcase what he stresses is a prototype of the phone that incorporates TIs digital light processing (DLP) technology and demonstrated its capabilities.

"When we will have a product on the market has still to be decided, but we are certainly committed to combining DLP technology with a mobile terminal, said Delagi.

There are clearly issues for now with battery drain, as the prototype has a quite noisy fan, and Delagi admitted the company has some technical challenges to solve before coming to market.

Last month at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, TI demonstrated a set-up where a mobile phone was connected to a small projector incorporating the micromirror technology, and suggested the mobile phone as a widescreen television is an attractive proposition.

Delagi is about to replace Gilles Delfassy, who is retiring after 28 years with the company as senior VP and head of the wireless terminals operation.

He told EE Times Europe one of his major challenges is understanding and foreseeing what functionalities to integrate into its devices targeting different handset sectors, and at what pace. "There is no doubt Bluetooth, FM radio, Wi-Fi and GPS are great applications, but its a difficult decision to know which to offer and when for, for example, the low cost 3G sector or the emergin handsets sector. Talking to the operators, as we constantly do, is the only way."

Talking about Motorolas decision late last month to use the Omap platform fora variety of WiMAX and 3G devices, Delagi said 'We are really upbeat about the prospects of more design wins at Motorola, but of course they have over the past few weeks also announced relationships with Freescale Semiconductor and Qualcomm, and we will have to earn our design wins. The world of wireless has changed: there are few if any exclusive deals out there."

Delagi said there are no major implications for the wireless handsets business unit from TIs decision to rely more on foundries for the next process nodes beyond 65-nm. "The changes we are planning are ones of implementation, not strategy. We will most definitely continue to develop basic research and development into next generation process technologies, but shift some of the process development and production to foundries. It takes hundreds of millions of dollars to bring up a new node, and there exists a lot of redundancy for all of us to be spending this money on qualifying new lines."

Delagi said perhaps five years ago, there was a long time lag for foundries like TSMC, Chartered and UMC bringing on-line the latest technologies, but "foundries have come a long way in terms of deploying the best processes in good time, and it is pragmatic for us to do this fab model."

But, he stressed, "we will continue to specify the process, and that remains fundamental to what we do."

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