For my first blog, I wanted to follow up on today’s press release by delving a little more into what exactly our SDIO-EBI2 solution does for customers.
The primary benefit is connectivity efficiency. In most instances, the modem chip set ‘talks’ with the applications processor through USB…and that solution works OK. But it can be done better, especially in the area of power efficiency. Two chips talking to each other over USB requires multiple USB PHYs to be active, which as any electrical engineer will tell you, isn’t exactly low power (especially for battery powered devices) — each USB connection can consume over 100mW. The QuickLogic solution enables communication using the SDIO port of the applications processor and the EBI2 port of the Qualcomm cellular modem chip sets in a much more power efficient way. This efficiency is immediate, as you are saving power anytime the device is communicating by modem as compared to USB communication. And judging by my last bill…my phone is communicating a LOT by modem.
Secondarily, this also frees up USB controllers on the apps processor. Even today, the amount of USB controllers on the applications processor are sometimes just enough to meet internal communication demands plus a port for sideloading and battery charging. Often times, there aren’t enough controllers to satisfy demand, especially in newer smartphones full of bells and whistles (metaphorically full…but who knows what might be just around the bend?). The SDIO to EDI2 solution frees up a USB controllers in this case for other demands.
An alternative architecture in a system with a full USB load would be the addition of an external USB hub chip (a 1 to 3 splitter, for instance). The QuickLogic CSSP PolarPro-based SDIO to EBI2 solution will be cheaper than this alternative, certainly more power efficient, and likely would offer a smaller footprint. Plus, the SDIO to EBI2 solution doesn’t exhaust all the available fabric space in the PolarPro device, allowing additional PSB technology(s) to be loaded to further improve system design or user experience.
Will this feature eliminate USB as the choice of internal interface on devices? Our CX line of platforms has USB 2.0 as a communication method (along with ULPI and HSI, but that’s for another blog, another day), so it would stand to reason we are sure the answer is no. USB remains the interface of choice for its relative ease-of-integration, industry support, and design engineer knowledge base. What the SDIO-EBI2 solution presents is an option for power for USB slot-strapped system designers to make their systems better with a minimum of design work, using a proven technology from QuickLogic.
And hey…we even provide the software drivers for a Linux & Windows Mobile OS, customized to the OEMs needs.