Royal Philips Electronics has showcased a series of chips that will add FM and AM tuner functionality to mobile phones, CD/MP3 players, PDAs, and other handset devices. The chips are not only the world’s smallest, but will also allow handset manufacturers to create ‘true’ multimedia devices that are capable of playing audio, video, games, and radio.
According to Philips, FM radio is one of the key features users are looking for as mobile phones are evolving into connected consumer devices. With listening figures as high as 20 hours per week, according to the company, Philips is hoping that consumers will appreciate the addition of easy-to-use FM radio on their mobile phones. This, of course, is very likely, as for most people it will probably mean one less item to carry in their pockets. Today, only some 15 per cent of mobile phones sold worldwide have FM radio, although the market is set to continue to grow towards 50 per cent, asserts Philips.
Each new chip has its own peculiarities. For example, the TEA5767 requires low power whilst the TEA5777 supports the AM range. The smallest in the series, the TEA5761, is made using WL-CSP (Wafer Level – Chip Scale Packaging) and is a wafer of silicon crystal plates. As the I/O connections were redesigned and some of them removed, TEA5761-based solutions require considerably less PCB space. Some of TEA5764 are also shipped in WL-CSP package, but they primarily stand out with RDS (Radio Data System) support (provides various information like station name, current track, news, ads, and so on). RDS also helps to simplify tuning by ensuring that the radio always tunes to the strongest signal available. The technology also offers benefits for telecom operators by increasing average revenue per user (APRU).
‘Mobile phones are becoming the ultimate portable device and consumers are placing great value on the multimedia features that differentiate their phone from others in the market. Already established as a proven technology with a large user base all over the world, FM radio is a valuable addition to any handset,’ said Peter Baumgartner, senior vice president of Philips Semiconductors’ Communications business. ‘As the leader in this market for FM radio on mobile devices, Philips enables everyone to enjoy radio entertainment, everywhere and anytime they want.’
Philips’ FM TEA5761 is available now, while the FM+RDS TEA5764 and the AM/FM TEA5777 will be available in January 2005.