Samsung Favors Taiwan's Via Tech for Droid Charge Handset

By Ashok Bindra July 13, 2011

A recent “Samsung Droid Charge Teardown” report generated by market research firm ABI Research provides some interesting information on CDMA chipset suppliers. Based on this teardown analysis, ABI research sees a significant shift in component sourcing strategy. The Korean consumer electronics giant Samsung has dropped US CDMA chipset supplier Qualcomm in favor of Taiwanese vendor Via Technologies.

According to ABI Research, Via Technologies will supply the CDMA chipset for Samsung’s new Droid “CHARGE” handset that it is supplying to the US market via Verizon.

The market watcher believes that this may be the beginning of a market assault on Qualcomm’s long-undisputed command of CDMA chips in the US and elsewhere. In addition to the Via Technologies’ CDMA chip, Samsung is using its own proprietary baseband chip for the LTE, the teardown analysis reveals.

According to James Mielke, Qualcomm’s vice president of engineering, “We have been following Samsung’s decision-making closely for some time, and we see a trend towards using suppliers from closer to home, in the East-Asia region. For example, the RF for both CDMA and LTE in this phone is supplied by Korean vendor FCI.”

This represents Via Technologies’ first venture into the CDMA market in the United States, although ABI Research believes versions of this phone will ship into all of Samsung’s CDMA markets worldwide.

“While the choice of Via Technologies is not critical if restricted to this one model,” Mielke continued, “if a similar switch away from Qualcomm chipsets occurred across all Samsung’s CDMA phone models, it would represent a real challenge to the market’s status quo.”

ABI’s Samsung Droid Charge teardown report provides detailed photos, process evaluation, and part descriptions for all of the major components such as power amplifier, power management, baseband processor, RF, Bluetooth, GPS, WiLAN, and many discretes. Tying all this information together are unique circuit board photos, performance measurements, cost information, and board area data.

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Ashok Bindra is a veteran writer and editor with more than 25 years of editorial experience covering RF/wireless technologies, semiconductors and power electronics. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Jennifer Russell

TechZone360 Contributor

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