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Send Sales Leads ToBrenda Vanderheyden

CMF601K3400BEEK_Vishay Dale

Send Sales Leads ToBrenda Vanderheyden

NextWave's NW2000 WiMax chip set can power devices requiring wireless broadband. Intel Corp. earlier announced that its next-generation Centrino laptop chip sets will include a WiMax modem, and Nokia recently showed a WiMax-enabled network terminal.

South Korea and several other technology hot spots have pilot programs up and running ahead of Taiwan's field trials. Cisco Systems and Nortel Networks are both backing WiMax for geographically isolated areas in the U.S. Clearwire is promising to extend the Sprint Nextel U.S. nationwide network with WiMax.

CMF601K3400BEEK_Vishay Dale

Comcast Corp., Time Warner Cable Inc., Intel Corp., Google Inc. and cable operator Bright House Networks are investing heavily in building the first U.S. nationwide Clearwire WiMax network.

MANHASSET, New York — Manufacturers and retailers allow consumers to return a brand new consumer product for free, even if it's out of the box and the box is wrecked. However, too often this happens when the thing is in perfect working order, except that the buyer couldn't figure out how to make it work.

Manufacturers and retailers have to do this, because people are bringing back functional electronic gadgets by the thousands. A recent analysis conducted by Accenture found that in the United States, the customer return rate for consumer electronics averaged 11 to 12 percent in 2007. (see: Return of the consumers )

CMF601K3400BEEK_Vishay Dale

But maybe manufacturers and retailers — who, by now, must be aware of this trend — aren't doing enough. Maybe they should be paying a refund” for the time and effort the buyer wastes trying to get the thing to work — all in vein.

I joined the refund” camp after buying a brand new Flip Video last week. My Flip flopped.

CMF601K3400BEEK_Vishay Dale

Generally, new technologies don't faze me. Technology, after all, is my beat. As a consumer, I tend to be more patient and persistent with gadgets than the average bear. I've been known to pull the occasional tech-crazed all-nighter, like the time in Dublin when I unexpectedly faced an ISDN connection in my hotel room, or hunting down a fax machine in a B&B in a small village in Germany, or battling the French version of DSL in a Paris garret.

But all those stories had happy endings. With Flip Video, not so much.

While the target application for LPDDR1 memory in 2003 was often 2.5G mobile phones, today LPDDR1 devices are being used in other portable computing applications, such as global positioning systems, personal media players and the latest-generation 3G data-connected phones.

Beyond LPDDR1

These newer and more demanding applications are putting a strain on the capabilities of LPDDR1 memory. A large concern is the limited speed range of LPDDR1: A clock rate of 200 MHz (DDR400) has just been reached–but only by a few manufacturers–and not without some difficulty in interfacing to these devices using unterminated I/Os.

The normal operation voltage of standard DDR3, at 1.5 V, is lower than the operating voltage of most LPDDR1 devices. LPDDR1 has seen even more pressure from the PC memory market space with the introduction of some 1.5-V-operation DDR2 and 1.35-V-operation DDR3 memories. With power being proportional to the square of the voltage, these low-voltage PC memories use less power than their full-voltage PC equivalents. However, with terminated I/O schemes and power-consuming timing circuits, PC memories can't compete with LPDDR memories for low power at a given voltage.

The good news is that the next generation of low-power memories–LPDDR2–is just around the corner. With strong participation from memory manufacturers and users, the spec is close to being complete. LPDDR2 promises to be up to 2.5x faster than LPDDR1 and to jump down to a 1.2-V operating voltage–lower than low-voltage DDR3.

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