CMOS power amplifiers grab market share from GaAs

March 28, 2012 — In its report, "RF filters, PAs, Antenna Switches & Tunability for Cellular Handsets," Yole Développement notes that new technologies are changing the power amplifier (PA) sector. PAs are strategic RF components in cell phones.

Converged PAs and more broadband PAs are increasingly being accepted in the market.

Gallium arsenide (GaAs) still dominates the PA market, but is poised to lose market share to the growing complementary metal oxide semiconductor (CMOS) PA architecture, starting at the low end side of the market. Silion on insulator (SOI) technology could be used for PAs in the near future.

These architecture changes open up room for changes in the competitive landscape, currently dominated by Skyworks, with RFMD, TriQuint, Avago and Murata/Renesas as challengers. Some companies are getting more vertically integrated, such as Murata after the acquisition of Renesas PA business, which may translate in a change in the business model of the company.

Another RF technology, antenna switches, will see massive adoption of SOI technology, which started in 2010.

New packaging technologies now enable compact multi-chip packages of Rx modules, PA modules, multi-duplexers, and other RF technologies. The evolution of architecture towards modules is one driver that pushes each company in the sector to be able to handle all types of components or to set up specific partnerships, a new development in the highly specialized RF components sector.

Yole Développement is a group of companies providing market research, technology analysis, strategy consulting, media, and finance services. Learn more at www.yole.fr.

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