By Bryan Whatley, Mentor GraphicsApril 02, 2008 -- videsignline.com
Mobile handsets today contain a growing number of devices because customers continue to demand new types of applications and features. Both low- and high-end devices now include such integrated circuits as microcontrollers, memory chips, data converters, LCD drivers, and I/O controls to name a few.
With these types of advancements, more applications and features are being squeezed onto the printed circuit board (PCB), which at the same time is shrinking in size. The reason for a shrinking PCB is quite obvious; customers want more features and functionality in smaller, more efficient packages. Faced with this type of challenge, product designers and manufactures must find new ways to minimize board space while integrating all of these devices.
To show how far handset design technology has come, and where it will go in the future, Figure 1 highlights the number of integrated circuits required in the typical mobile phone from early 2000 to what is anticipated in 2011. No question that the number of ICs will continue to increase. Figure 1. The average number of IC units per handset is expected to grow over the years. Not depicted in this chart is the feat Apple's iPhone has accomplished. Today, the iPhone contains 23 integrated circuits.
Coming to the rescue, Philips established a new bus protocol better suited to interconnecting more complex hardware circuitry on shrinking PCB real estate. The new bus interconnect technology called, Inter-Integrated Circuits Bus (I2C), has since been widely embraced by the industry. Unglamorous as it may be, it is without question one of the technologies that has made portable devices the marvels they are today; delivering consumers products in sleek packages, with more features, and plug-and-play capabilities at lower per unit cost.
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