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RF Front-End Module Comparison Report by SystemPlus Consulting

RF Front-End Module Comparison 2018

2018 is a new year for RF Front-End Module suppliers, and a turning point for some smartphone-making original equipment manufacturers (OEMs). In 2017, we saw an important choice in adopting Power Amplifier Module integrated Duplexers (PAMiDs) that distinguished high-end and mid-range smartphones. Today, the distinction between these categories is becoming wider as companies work towards fifth generation (5G) wireless communication protocols. High-end OEMs are seeking new ways to integrate more capabilities into one device, which creates space on printed circuit boards for 5G components in the future.

At the same time, isolation techniques for all front-end communication devices are getting better, in a market with high-quality competitors. Now is the perfect time to track the field’s developments, and to see what’s coming. System Plus has therefore opened up Front-End Modules in ten flagship products. We provide information on every player and compare integration technologies between the OEMs, module suppliers and against last year’s models.

We have conducted this comparative technology study to provide insights and technology data for RF Front-End Modules in smartphones and a new smartwatch. The report studies over 40 Front-End Modules and several other components found in ten flagship products, the Apple Watch Series 3, Apple iPhone 8 Plus, Apple iPhone X, US and European versions, Samsung Galaxy S8+, US and European versions, Huawei P10, Asus Zenfone 5 Pro, Sony XZs and Xiaomi Mi6.

With teardowns of a large variety of smartphones and one smartwatch, we have extracted the main RF Modules and physically analyzed them. We have studied component sizes and technologies to provide a large panel of OEM technical and economic choices and an overview of the market. Skyworks is now a major player along with Broadcom/Avago, but we also encountered and analyzed devices from several other players, like Qorvo, Murata, and Epcos/TDK.

The report includes a description of each component and statistical analyses for most front-end modules. It also tries to explain OEM and supplier choices. Wifi and Bluetooth Modules analysis are not covered in this report. The Report is an extensive overview of 40 RF Front-End modules and components found in 10 flagship products, including the Apple Watch Series 3, iPhone 8 and X, Samsung Galaxy S8, Huawei P10, Asus Zenfone4 Pro, Sony XZs and Xiaomi Mi6.

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