Analog Devices has announced plans to develop a complete EDGE platform for mobile devices using software from TTPCom.
EDGE (Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution) has been dubbed a 2.75G technology, sitting between GPRS and W-CDMA on the GSM evolution path. It offers transfer rates of up to 473 Kbs and has been chosen by some network operators, primarily in the Americas, as part of their network upgrade strategies. Analog’s platform will include RF transceiver, analog interface, power management technology and DSP baseband processor. It will be available in 2003 and will be aimed at device manufacturers who want to include EDGE capabilities in their units without the investing resources in the development of compatible radio technology. TTPCom, the British mobile communications developer, is supplying the systems software.
“EDGE enables a carrier to provide higher data rates and 3G-like services to subscribers today since the majority of GSM/GPRS wireless infrastructure currently being deployed has been designed with EDGE capability. EDGE is widely-regarded as a low-cost evolutionary standard on the way to Universal Mobile Telecommunications Service (UMTS) or 3G,” said Christian Kermarrec, vice president, RF and wireless systems, Analog Devices, Inc. “TTPCom’s software expertise is a perfect complement to ADI’s Blackfin DSP, mixed signal, RF and power management technologies and together we provide a solution for the EDGE market.”
The jury is still out on whether EDGE will gain traction in the market. The advantage is that it can be deployed in existing GSM spectrum, unlike W-CDMA, but still deliver ‘3G’ data rates. At the moment, it looks likely to see only marginal adoption in the US and a handful of smaller markets. If that is the case, economies of scale will be hard to achieve and there are unlikely to be many compelling handsets.
Platform solutions from companies like Analog will make it easier for device manufacturers to incorporate EDGE support, but there will be little incentive to increase the bill-of-materials unless there is widespread network deployment – a true chicken-and-egg challenge.
Originally published by PMN Mobile Industry Intelligence, the subscription-based analysis and insight platform founded by Marek Pawlowski.