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STMicro looks for new roles in wireless world

Smartphone chips may be in STE venture, but Swiss giant chases other handset slots, plus a place in internet of things

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 12 November, 2012

READ MORE: M2M | Semiconductor | LTE

STMicro may have put its smartphone chip business into the troubled ST-Ericsson joint venture, but it continues to develop new products to give it a role in emerging mobile device categories - next generation handsets and the myriad chips which will power the internet of things.

The chip giant has outlined two developments which highlight its plans to take advantage of the widening reach of mobile connections. One is a chipset which promises longer battery life for LTE handsets, one of the most important improvements OEMs are chasing for their 4G products.


The firm's STPTIC (ParaScan tunable integrated capacitors) can electrically adjust the amount of energy transferred from the cellphone amplifier to the antenna, according to EETimes. This helps maximize battery life when using multiple 2G, 3G and 4G frequency bands, a common challenge for LTE handset designers.

The STPTIC can also adjust power according to whether it is being held close to the user's ear or not, and limits amplifier power consumption. That can remove the need for multiple switched capacitors to adjust levels, said STMicro, which reduces power and chipset size. The chips are sampling now.

Ricardo De-Sa-Earp, general manager of STMicro's application specific discrete and IPAD division, said: "Two of the world's top five handset manufacturers have already chosen this technology for antenna matching in their current handsets."

Meanwhile, STMicro has partnered with Xsens, a specialist in 3D motion tracking technology, to demonstrate the world's first wearable wireless 3D body motion tracking system based on consumer grade MEMS sensors. The system combines Xsens' sensor fusion algorithms and wireless protocols with ST's iNEMO-M1, which incorporates MEMS motion sensors and the

STM32 microprocessor.

After working on similar technologies for ultra-real gaming and for movies, STMicro is turning its attention to broader consumer applications. Benedetto Vigna, general manager of the firm's analog MEMS and sensors group, said: "Xsens' unique 3D body motion tracking technology will help our customers innovate and deliver new solutions to their customers in sports, fitness, healthcare and gaming. We are at the dawn of a new era for Motion MEMS and we want to extend our leadership."

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