OnQ Blog

Qualcomm RF360 front end solution comes of age

Dec 8, 2014

Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.

At our recently held annual investor day (Nov. 19th), Qualcomm Technologies announced QFE3100, our 2nd generation envelope tracker, and shared the following stats on Qualcomm® RF360™:

  • 225+ total design wins across 40+ OEMs
  • 30% of 28nm RF designs use at least one RF360 front end product
  • 2nd generation products launched

While the QFE3100 announcement is very exciting—it takes up 30% smaller area compared to QFE1100, designed to enhance power efficiency of the PA, provides OEMs with tools to simplify ET implementation, and is anticipated to launch with our 5th generation Qualcomm® Gobi™ 9x45 LTE modem—what I found most remarkable were the traction numbers on RF360. What started out with the 1st envelope tracker launching in September 2013 on the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 has now blossomed into more than 225 total designs with over 40 OEMs in slightly more than a year’s time!

QFE1100 and QFE3100 Envelope Trackers

The envelope tracker, QFE1100, capitalized on its 1st mover advantage and is now commercial on several mainstream smartphones such as Nexus 5, Samsung Galaxy S5, HTC One M8, and Sony Xperia Z2. The massive improvements in PA power consumption and thermal design that ET enables have made it a highly desirable feature in premium tier LTE smartphones. And the QFE3100 is designed to further enhance ET performance in an even smaller chip area!

QFE15xx and QFE25xx Antenna Matching Tuners

The antenna tuner, QFE15xx, which launched after ET and first on the Nokia Lumia 1520, is now available on devices such as Sony Xperia ZL2, HTC One M8, Amazon Fire, and Lumia 830. The 2nd generation tuner, QFE2550, which is designed to meet higher performance specifications than the 1st generation tuner and thereby further enhance antenna performance and user experience, is anticipated to launch soon in the coming months.

QFE23xx and QFE33xx/QFE10xx power amplifiers/antenna switches

The integrated CMOS power amplifier and switch, QFE23xx, was last to launch (in just March this year) but has already made big strides in getting adopted by major OEMs. First featured in the ZTE Grand S2 and ZTE Star One, the QFE2320/40 are now commercial in many devices including the HTC Desire 510, Lenovo S856, Samsung Galaxy Grand Prime, and Samsung Galaxy Core Max. Racing ahead of the ET and antenna tuner, 2nd generation QFE3335/45 products recently launched on the ZTE MF975s MiFi device, becoming our first next-gen RF360 components to go commercial.

If you noticed, there are many devices above that feature more than one component of RF360. The Amazon Fire phone, for example, was the 1st to launch with all three components of RF360. Another important aspect is that these devices have launched across LTE tiers—with Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 800 down to 400 processors. The breadth of adoption is also reflected well by the earlier statistic that 30% of our 28 nm transceiver designs (comprising high-tier WTR3925, and mid/low tier WTR4905 and WTR2955) have at least one component of RF360.

With all 1st generation products having launched and 2nd generation in the midst of commercialization, the RF360 front end solution has clearly come of age. And as the 225+ number indicates, there is still a lot more waiting to happen in the future!

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Opinions expressed in the content posted here are the personal opinions of the original authors, and do not necessarily reflect those of Qualcomm Incorporated or its subsidiaries ("Qualcomm"). Qualcomm products mentioned within this post are offered by Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. The content is provided for informational purposes only and is not meant to be an endorsement or representation by Qualcomm or any other party. This site may also provide links or references to non-Qualcomm sites and resources. Qualcomm makes no representations, warranties, or other commitments whatsoever about any non-Qualcomm sites or third-party resources that may be referenced, accessible from, or linked to this site.

Kanu Chadha

Senior Manager, Technical Marketing