RF Architecture Choices for Next-Generation Handset Designs

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  • Author: Ben Thomas, Director of Technical Marketing, Mobile Products Bryan Soukup, Director of Technical Marketing, Mobile Products

The smartphone market has diversified into multiple categories with differing design goals and priorities, which require different approaches to RF front end (RFFE) integration. Flagship phones are premium devices designed for super- regional or global use. They require a highly integrated RFFE architecture such as Qorvo’s RF Fusion, which integrates all major transmit and receive functionality, including support for all major frequency bands and global carrier aggregation deployments.

This approach maximizes performance and space savings, and helps manufacturers achieve global coverage with only a few variations (SKUs) on a single design. Mid-tier regional handsets, in contrast, have very different RFFE requirements. Manufacturers seek to minimize handset cost by including only the RF components needed for specific regional bands, yet they need to rapidly adapt handset designs for different regions and customers. This requires an RFFE architecture that enables design flexibility, such as Qorvo’s RF Flex. RF Flex integrates core RF components, such as power amplifiers and switches that are common to multiple regional variants of a handset; manufacturers can then quickly produce models for specific regions and operators simply by adding the appropriate filters.