Thursday, April 24th, 2014

Mobile is a Platform for Innovation – UCB Global Tech

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 November 18, 2011, A. Richard Newton Global Technology Leaders Conference, Mountain View, CA--Paul Jacobs from Qualcomm suggested that mobile devices are the development platform for innovation. These devices are fertile grounds for new features and capabilities.

Through long partnerships with Cal, they have done research into ubiquitous swarms, cloud, mobile access, and sensor swarms. All of these areas need good communications within a secure environment. One outcome of the research into digital communications theories was the CDMA technology. Originally this technology was for high value applications like space and military communications.

CDMA migrated to consumer applications when embedded portable computers became capable enough to handle the multiple, simultaneous tasks needed for communications. The first business application was for tracking trucks and 26 years later is still an important function. The technology uses 2-way power control in a packet systems for voice traffic.

CDMA led to the mobile Web by adding a modem and using standard TCP/IP. Moving the modem to the edge of the system is now leading everyone to consider their mobile smart phone as their most personal, and personalized device. The increased functions and capabilities in the phones will continue to evolve and become a digital sixth sense for its user.

Mobile phones are the largest technology platform in history. These devices are even in areas where there is no reliable source of electricity. People in China are putting solar cells on their roofs to charge their phones. Mobile platforms are changing the world. There are applications in health care and general business. For example, in India, people use phones to find market information for their fish. And obviously, it is a force for changing whole governments as evidenced by the Arab Spring.

Mobile phones enable connections with voice, video, and text. These devices are the highest volume compute platform and smart phones will ship more than PCs in '11. There are already 5B phones for the 7B people on the planet. This platform is a PC with built-in communications and other functions. PCs are good for many general functions but phones are personal .

The phones are a disruptive technology compared to PCs and computing. They use the innovation that is here in Silicon Valley and the developers are comfortable with the model of accelerated integration. One of the drivers was the iPhone. The underlying technologies included connectivity, the increase in capabilities and performance due to Moore's Law, and the intrinsic and extrinsic software.

The iPhone was an evolutionary change from the iPod. Adding applications and Web connectivity to a basic phone and adding enhanced compute capabilities changed a disconnected PDA or MP3 player into a smart phone, and completely changed the requirements and expectation for any communications device.

Now, 3G has 1.5B users and will add an additional 1.7B more by '15, mostly in emerging markets. Next year, 3G will surpass 2G worldwide. This change brings about new demands on systems. Data volume is expected to increase by a factor of 10-12 by '15, and will go up by 1000x in the next 15 years. As a result, operators will need to change their technologies to meet this expected growth.

LTE increases data bandwidth and LTE hot spots plus 3G general coverage will make more multi-mode--2 G, 3G, LTE, WiFi, etc. --go through fundamental changes. 2 G phones had black and white alpha-numeric displays. Now most phones have full color and touch controls. Consumers now expect the amazing for everything. New requirements include improved graphics, faster computing, and other functions that are still emerging.

Smart phones themselves are starting to change. Phones are being separated into tiers based on functions and features.. A low-end phone will sell for less than $150 and will account for over 40 percent of the market. At the other end, the high-end phones sell for over $200 and over 15 percent of al phones will be in this category.

Since half of all phones sales are in emerging markets, lower costs are a big driver. At the same time, the dramatically increased user base will permit the increased integration of functions into ever smaller chips. Already, chips have CPU, GPU, radios, audio, and sensor interfaces built in. In the 28 nm process, the same functions will cost less and will use less power.

Another nascent market is tablets. Soon Microsoft will have Windows 8 for tablets and computers will start to behave like smart phones. For example, devices will go to sleep and power down most functions. They will wake up briefly to update status, then go back to sleep. This functionality will be made possible by architectures that anticipate the timing for a quick restart. Tablets will engender new form factors for computers because the keyboard is not attached the computer.

The emergence of HTML5 is putting the full Web into any browser. The browsers are being optimized to take advantage of the increased compute power and faster functions in today's chips. Apps and micro-services will take advantage of the greater interoperability. The next big thing will be the Internet of everything.

People will take advantage of this new Internet by having 1000 radios for each person. The systems will manage power and connections through the user's preferences through the most efficient channels. For example, if a low speed channel is sufficient for the task, the system will not wake up a high-powered radio for the connection.

These new systems will make more changes in the world. In the area of health care, health improvement is more useful and valuable than sick care. As a result, treatments will move from a hospital to the home when possible. Attachments or apps will monitor and sense a person's functions and transfer those data to medical professionals, who can recommend or take actions as they see changing patterns.

The phone will track conditions in the heart, sleep, physical functions like diabetes, and many others. Injectable sensors can provide up to 24-hour advance notice of many health issues. These sensors will be enabled by new radio technologies and will be a part of everyone's personal area network, or body area network.

The systems will have to be very low power for normal operations and will connect to the phone for outside communications. These systems will work in a flexible network architecture with built-in high security. Precise ranging will allow for proximity-based peer-to-peer networks and any device will be able to attach to any part of the network.

Some of the applications that a system like this could handle include identifying and verifying a person to an external source, and authentication for accessing entertainment. The radio could be a part of a service at low power. Augmented reality is possible, but the user interface has to adapt to the different visual requirements. Ubiquitous connectivity would enable cross-platform drag and drop for various types of data.

The phone and the additional sensor network will become a 6th sense for each user. The interconnections of sensors, computers, connectivity to the cloud, and mobile communications will enable many new applications as all the various modes of operation merge and blur.

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