Wednesday, January 23, 2008

The shape of phones to come?

Tomorrow’s cellphones could sport as many as eight radios and require up to 11 antennas, according to Sudhir Dixit, head of network technology for Nokia Siemens Networks, speaking in a presentation at Photonics West today. “There’s an antenna jangle out there,” he said.

The radios included Bluetooth, multi-mode and frequency cellular (with four antennas), DVB-H, FM, GPS, RFID, Wi-Fi and ultrawideband. Dixit, an IEEE Fellow, called for new strides in miniaturization. Without them that future phone might need to dedicate a whopping 25 percent of its area to antennas and radios, he added.

The Nokia Siemens tech exec is admittedly making an extreme case that’s not likely to be on the engineer’s benchtop anytime soon. Similarly his projections of future phones with VGA resolutions on OLED screens and Gbytes of memory was a bit beyond the pale.

That said, we’ve been watching a slow motion explosion in wireless technologies over the last decade. The trend line Dixit outlined is real, even if the details may be a bit exaggerated for affect.

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