Smartphones have become indispensable companions in our daily lives. Precise navigation, secure mobile payment, fast and reliable connectivity: Products and solutions from Infineon enable various applications in mobile communication. See how mobile devices support a family visit to Barcelona and how Infineon makes life easier, safer and greener.
“That’s the last one then.” Hank Snyder lifts the heavy suitcase from the baggage carousel and puts it down next to the other two. He, his wife and two children have just landed at El Prat Airport in Barcelona, Spain, where they are looking forward to spending a week vacationing during the Easter break. Hank looks around for the others. Where have they gotten to now? A moment later he catches sight of his wife Annie, who is engrossed in a lively conversation with their 17-year-old daughter Laura. Their son Paul, who just turned 15, is a few feet away, yet again fooling around with his new mobile phone. “Paul, can you help me with the bags?” calls out Hank over the heads of the other passengers.
Without taking his eyes off his smartphone display, Paul ambles over to his father. “Dad, I’ve looked up when the next train leaves for downtown. The R2 will take us straight to the main station. It leaves in 12 minutes. From track 2.” “How did you find that out so fast?” “I loaded the app as soon as we got off the plane.” Typical, thinks Hank. His son’s what they call a digital native – unlike Hank.
“Can you please make sure to put that app of yours on our smartphones, too?” Naturally, each member of the family of four has their own smartphone. Both Hank, a self-employed civil engineer, and Annie, managing director of a publishing company, need their smartphones mainly for their jobs. As their daughter Laura freely admits, life without a smartphone is “like impossible.” And Paul, who used a hand-me-down phone of Hank’s for three years, has been the proud owner of a state-of-the-art device since his last birthday. So apparently he doesn’t always use the contraption just to play games, thinks Hank. “Cool. Then get your sister and Mom moving as well. And take these two bags here.”
When you want to find out something, you don’t want to have to wait. No matter whether you want to install a new app, look up the next train connection to the city, the phone number for a taxi or the location of the nearest bike rental depot – long Internet load times are a real hassle. When you want to find out something important on your smartphone, time is of the essence – and Infineon has developed the right semiconductors to speed things up. Its various mobile technology solutions – signal amplifiers, antenna tuners and frequency converters – combine perfectly to ensure fast data transfer rates for smartphones. As a result, web searches on mobile devices are just as fast as on the computer at home.
High-performance components for a better user experience: For today’s ever more demanding mobile device and wireless applications, designers need highly-integrated front-end solutions with lower loss rates, more powerful performance and greater linearity.
A short time later, the four find themselves in an overcrowded train station, surrounded by the typical noises: people talking, the sound of trains arriving and leaving, and announcements over the P.A. in English, Spanish and Catalan.
“I’m glad we have a few minutes to spare,” says Hank to his wife. “I’ll grab us some train tickets.” “Great,” says Annie, taking her smartphone out of her purse. “I’ll give my mom a call to tell her we landed safely. You know how she worries about us.” “With all the noise here, it’s gonna be a mighty short conversation. Why not wait till we’re at the hotel?”
Hank moves off to look for the ticket counter. It’s easy to find – mainly because of the long line of people waiting in front of it. That’s going to take too long, he thinks. There are some ticket vending machines close by, and they’re easy to operate: Just select your destination and enter the number of passengers. To pay for the tickets, Hank simply holds his smartwatch in front of the reader – and the vending machine prints out four tickets and a receipt. The whole procedure takes no more than 20 seconds.
Hank’s smartwatch was a Christmas gift from Annie. Even though she has little time for “big boys’ toys,” as she calls them, she knows how much her husband loves his gadgets. And Hank really does revel in every opportunity to use his toys.
Infineon makes the security chips that protect confidential user data, something that is essential when making mobile payments using near field communication (or NFC for short). The embedded secure element chip SLE 97 has a storage capacity of 1 MB, enabling sophisticated payment applications. Users’ encryption keys, banking data and biometric data, for authentication by fingerprint, for instance, can be securely stored on the chip.
Smart Wearable Devices: Ultra small and smart with everything ready for a secure and convenient payment experience.
On returning to his family, Hank sees that Annie is still talking on her phone. Typical, he thinks: Phone calls between his wife and mother-in-law can often last over an hour. But why here at the train station – with all this background noise? The train should be arriving any minute. Hank gives Annie a signal to wind up. She smiles and gives him a brief nod.
“Okay, Mom, gotta go. Our train’s coming. Call you tomorrow. Bye!” At that moment the train pulls in. Annie puts her smartphone back in her purse and reaches for her suitcase. “Did your mother understand one word of what you were saying with all the noise here?” asks Hank as they take their seats on the train. “She’s sort of hard of hearing.” “Nope, it was no problem at all. She understood everything and I could hear everything she said loud and clear.”
State-of-the-art smartphones have several microphones, manufactured using silicon chips. Microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) of this type have several advantages over conventional microphones: They not only boast enhanced sensitivity, but are also more robust and less likely to suffer damage if dropped or shaken. Users appreciate the substantially better voice quality they offer – after all, several MEMS mikes in combination with the right software can filter out unwanted background noise. As a result, talking over the phone even in noisy environments is no longer a problem.
About 20 minutes later, the family is standing in front of Barcelona’s main station. Hank is typing something into his smartphone. “It’s just under two miles from here to our hotel. That’s half an hour on foot, which I think is too far with our luggage. Let’s grab a taxi. Can you see any?” “I think I saw a sign for taxis when we came out of the station,” says Annie. “They probably wait on the other side of the station.” “Not a problem, we’ll call one.”
Hank opens an app, confirms their location and orders a taxi. “It’ll be here in a minute,” he announces. Just a few moments later a cab pulls up in front of the family. The driver jumps out and starts putting the luggage in the trunk. Hank climbs in the back seat with the two children and lets his wife, who speaks fluent Spanish, sit in the front next to the driver. “Gallery Hotel,” says Annie. “Sí, Señora,” says the driver, pulling away from the curb.
After checking in, the family meets up in the parents’ room. Hank is relaxing on the big bed. “First thing I want to do is chill out for a while. The last few days were pretty hectic.” “What I’d like is an espresso. I saw a little café opposite the hotel. Want to tag along?” says Annie. “Well, actually, Paul and I wanted to take a look around,” says Laura. “OK,” says Annie with a sigh. She sometimes has trouble accepting that her “babies” are gradually growing up and getting more independent. Her husband obviously takes a more relaxed view of things: He’s already fallen asleep and is snoring softly. “But stay together. And don’t get lost!” “Oh, Mom, take it easy!” says Paul, rolling his eyes. “We’ve got GPS on our phones. Everything’s gonna be just fine.” Annie can’t help laughing. “Then get out of here. We’ll all meet up in an hour in the café downstairs.”
The feeling of being lost in unfamiliar surroundings is a thing of the past. Almost all smartphones now have an integrated navigation function, thanks to pico GNSS (Global Navigation Satellite System) modules from Infineon. These are chips that allow users to find their way around many parts of the world. Their structure allows them not only to receive and process GPS signals, but also those of the Russian GLONASS system and China’s Bei Dou. Going forward, it will also be possible to interpret signals from Europe’s Galileo satellites. With a surface area of just 1.5 mm x 1.1 mm, the Infineon module allows highly precise navigation on a tiny footprint.
Infineon presents the smallest GNSS module in the world: BGM1143N9 enables compact mobile phones with reliable navigation functionality.
Annie has just downed her second café cortado, when Hank crosses the road and takes a seat next to her at the table. He stretches his arms and yawns. “So, honey, have a good sleep?” “Yeah, it really did me good. Hey, where have the kids gotten to?” Annie glances at her phone. The display shows a map with two points close together that are moving slowly: They show the location of Laura and Paul’s mobile phones. “They’re on their way here and should turn up any moment.” Hank grins. “When we were that age and out on the town, we had nothing like that.” “How true,” admits Annie. “But I really like having this virtual leash; it’s reassuring always knowing where the kids are.”
At that moment, Laura and Paul appear. “Come on, sit down. Thirsty?” As usual, both of the kids are busy with their phones and just nod. Annie gives the waiter a wave and orders two mineral waters. “I’m actually really hungry,” says Paul, looking up from his phone for a moment. Annie isn’t surprised – she knows her son. “Great,” she says.
“That suits us just fine. I’ve been surfing the net and found a cute little restaurant. It’s gotten over 300 positive reviews and it’s just around the corner. Looks really nice.” She passes her phone around for them to take a look. “What about we have dinner there this evening? I can make an online reservation.” Just a few clicks and it’s all done and dusted. After that, Annie goes to the bar to pay for their drinks. They have a compact reader at the cash register, and she simply has to hold her mobile phone close to the reader and the check is paid. As the amount was under 25 euros, she didn’t even have to enter her PIN. “Nifty,” says Annie as she returns to the table. “You don’t have to lug so much cash around with you.”
More and more payment transactions around the world are being handled by microcontroller-based smart cards. Designed to meet the rising security and convenience demands of cashless payments, these smart cards feature security controllers that must be designed to support:
As the global market leader, Infineon delivers the industry’s broadest portfolio of security chips for payment applications. Drawing on our strong and deep industry engagement and the experience we have gained delivering 3 billion chips to date, we are ideally placed to meet these and emerging challenges. Leading-edge technologies such as SOLID FLASH™ and Coil on Module (CoM) provide compelling proof of our innovative capabilities. In addition, we are committed to non-proprietary; open ticketing standards such as CIPURSE™ and interoperability standards such as EMV issued by EMVCo.
The dinner was really excellent. Sated and very satisfied, the family of four is strolling through the streets of the city on the way back to the hotel. “Look at these beautiful old buildings,” says Annie. Once again, Laura and Paul are busy typing on their phones. “Can’t you put those phones away for one moment?” says Hank. “Aren’t your batteries flat after such a long day.” “Mine’s still at 18 percent,” says Paul. “Unbelievable how long the batteries last,” says Annie with astonishment. “And we really have used them a lot today. But mine’s almost flat. I’ll have to recharge it later.”
A quarter of an hour later, Hank, Annie, Laura and Paul are back at the hotel. They say goodnight to each other in the corridor and are soon sound asleep in their beds. On the bedside tables next to them, four smartphones are being recharged in readiness for the family’s next day together in Barcelona.
With a smartphone, you have the world at your fingertips. But it takes a lot of power to run the many installed apps. It can be annoying to find your battery’s dead just when you want to do something important with your smartphone. That’s why Infineon makes chips with high energy efficiency, making for a long battery life. This is due to the components that are responsible for keeping contact with the outside world, namely the signal amplifier, antenna tuner and frequency converter. As for energy efficiency, power semiconductors from Infineon considerably reduce to time it takes to recharge a smartphone.
Increased output power, power density and energy efficiency: this is what’s required today of a telecom power supply.