Discussing and sharing opinions is what drives our industry forward; however sharing ideas becomes more challenging in our time where competition is intense. This is true for any industry but even more relevant to the high-pace mobile market where wrong move can cost you a fortune. It is that important then to stay connected and aligned with market trends so you’re not caught off guard and mitigate design and market risks while enabling to take a leadership position.
The MIPI alliance announced the release of M-PHY v3.0 in Barcelona which solidifies the Gear3 and other specs enhancements. From the press release I can quote this:M-PHY® v3.0 delivers a low-power, scalable physical layer with a data rate range nearing 6Gbps. CSI-3 has been adopted and is available for MIPI Alliance members. LLI v2.0 and M-PHY® v3.0 are scheduled for adoption by the end of April 2013.
I spent last week at Mobile World Congress 2013 in Barcelona, where Synopsys also demonstrated our D-PHY, CSI-2 and DSI protocols running in hardware and connecting to Agilent test equipment and UNH conformance test suite.
Toshiba’s launch of the Industry’s First Embedded NAND Flash memory module compliant with JEDEC UFS v1.1 marks an impressive milestone for the mobile storage market space.
I want to share a video showing the work we are doing at Synopsys to help semiconductor vendors adopt the JEDEC UFS v1.1 standard needed for high performance storage applications. The video shows the Synopsys UFS Host solution connecting with the Toshiba UFS Device prototyping platform and operating a sequence of read and write commands. These commands are sent from the host to the device to store and fetch the data from on-board NVM using the UFS link. As you can expect we have done more comprehensive interoperability tests beyond that.
I was approached by many readers asking for more information about integration of UFS in their SoC platform. As the information provided on the Synopsys MIPI web site gives you a good overview of the Synopsys UniPro controller and UFS Host controller it does not give you the high level view of what is delivered or what you need to integrate the Analog and Digital components in your SoC or storage IC. We have another resource for you, please reference this article: Building High-Performance Interfaces for Storage, Camera and Displays Using UniPro and UFS Controller IP which gives you an overview of our M-PHY, UniPro, UFS solutions, illustrating how they are used in a semiconductor environment and also provide some details about our FPGA prototyping platform to enable your system prototyping requirements.
JEDEC UFS (Universal Flash Storage) v1.1 is a standard promoted by JEDEC JC64.1 aiming to replace eMMC for scalable and high performance non-volatile memory interface in mobile and consumer electronics. The same JEDEC JC64.1 is the group that develops eMMC meaning that they see the transition from eMMC to UFS and are prepared to that. It’s fair to assume that UFS will be used in high end mobile applications first like high end smartphones, tablets and Ultrabooks and compete with eMMC on some of the lower end applications. Long term and assuming high volume manufacturing reduces UFS device costs we will see UFS replacing eMMC but there is a long way to go until we reach that time.
We typically refer to mobile solutions in the context of consumers as these mobile devices are used in our daily life for fun, accessing information, watching movies and similar tasks. We also use these Mobile electronics for work related tasks: phone calls, texting, email, business apps and for accessing / sending information.
It’s probably one of the most important milestones for the MIPI alliance in my humble opinion. Having made inroads into mobile markets with several specifications, camera CSI-2, display DSI, DigRF and D-PHY to name a few, now it’s the turn of the M-PHY. The most scalable, low power physical layer that can serve multiple end-applications (or protocols). Six end-applications to be precise, yes SIX.
The second quarter of 2011 will be remembered as an inflection point in the mobile industry with Apple becoming the world’s top smartphone vendor by shipping 20.3 million Smartphones. Nokia continued its decline, down by 34 percent from the same quarter last year and shipped 16.7 million units in the second quarter, with vendors like HTC and Samsung continue to stay behind. It’s important to note however that Samsung shows fantastic market share growth from a slim 3% in the first quarter of 2011 to 13% of smartphones sold in the first quarter this year. Other growing OEM’s include HTC, Sony Ericsson and LG. Apple’s iPhone dominancy in smartphone doesn’t translate to leadership in smartphone operating system as Android leads the game mostly due to the fact that Android operating system is used by multiple smartphone manufacturers. According to latest report by IMS research smartphone shipments in 2011 will reach 420 million units, taking 28% of the total handset market. The research firm also predicts smartphone volumes to reach 1 billion units in 2016 mostly due to lower end smartphones. Here’s a graph (courtesy of IMS research) comparing OEM smartphone shipments in Q1 2011 with Q1 2010: