Qualcomm says new RF360 chipset can alleviate 4G LTE band fragmentationAlex Wagner - Senior News Editor
While 4G LTE is great for consumers that are hungry for speedy mobile data, it can be a pain for manufacturers that want to release their hardware on several carriers, as all of the different bands that are used by different operators often forces device makers to create multiple variations of the same product. Qualcomm hopes to fix that with its new RF360 Front End Solution. The RF360 is a grouping of different parts that Qualcomm says can support the 40 different LTE bands in use, as well as seven previous cellular modes like GSM/EDGE and EV-DO.
In addition to supporting a whole mess of LTE bands, Qualcomm says that the RF360 will reduce power consumption, improve radio performance and offer a smaller RF front end footprint inside of devices. It's able to do this thanks to components like the a dynamic antenna matching tuner that can boost an antenna's performance and connection reliability when physical objects, like a person's hand, get in the way of a device's signal. Qualcomm also touts the RF360's envelope power tracker, which it claims can reduce thermal footprint and RF power consumption by 30 percent, allowing manufacturers to craft thinner products with better battery life. Finally, since it sports a wide range of LTE band support, the RF360 can cut down on a device maker's design and development costs since it allows it to make fewer variants of their hardware.
So when will we start to see this new chip inside consumer devices? Qualcomm expects that products with the RF360 will begin to arrive in the second half of 2013. While we won't immediately see all phones taking advantage of the RF360 at that time, the chip's arrival could bring a handful of devices that'll support several different LTE bands and will allow OEMs to create fewer versions of a unit, with each variant working on more carriers. Sounds good to me. Qualcomm's full announcement of the RF360, which could serve as a nice accompaniment to your morning coffee or bowl of cereal, can be found at the link below.