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CMOS PA Acquisition Binge

by Chris Taylor | 5月 03, 2013

On April 30, 2013, Avago Technologies Limited announced that it had acquired Javelin Semiconductor for an undisclosed sum.  Javelin (Austin, TX) supplies 3G CMOS PAs for the Samsung Galaxy S Duos, Samsung Galaxy Appeal and Samsung Galaxy Ace Plus.  The COO of Avago Tech stated that the company would develop hybrid CMOS / GaAs modules for cellphones, also making use of Avago’s compact FBAR filters and duplexers.

The acquisition follows Qualcomm’s announcement of a line of CMOS-based multimode, multiband power amplifiers, the acquisition of CMOS PA start-up Amalfi by RF Micro Devices, and the previous acquisition of Axiom Microdevices by Skyworks in 2009.  A few weeks ago, Peregrine Semiconductor announced a partnership to develop CMOS silicon-on-sapphire PAs with Murata for potential use in front-end cellphone modules.

The acquisition leaves TriQuint as the only top-tier GaAs PA supplier with no apparent CMOS PA capability.  The two best-known remaining acquisition candidates with CMOS PA technology are Black Sand (Austin, TX) and ACCO Semiconductor (Sunnyvale CA).  Black Sand has been the most outspoken of the two, claiming that its PAs have better inherent performance tolerance to VSWR mismatch than GaAs-based 3G PAs.  ACCO Semi, on the other hand, has maintained a relatively low profile.  ACCO Semi also specializes in CMOS PAs for 3G.  Neither company has shipped substantial volumes yet to the best of our knowledge.

We believe that TriQuint is taking a hard and close look at both Black Sand and ACCO Semi.  TriQuint’s competitors are probably also looking at Black Sand and ACCO, hoping to block TriQuint from developing CMOS PAs.

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