Agere Systems announced a complete platform solution for wireless handsets that nearly quadruples Internet data rates, reduces electronics components by nearly 50 percent, and accelerates time-to-market for wireless handsets by up to one year compared with wireless handset platforms currently offered.

Agere's platform, based on Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM) technology-the world's most widely deployed wireless standard — also can give handset users the flexibility to use their handsets in global regions such as Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific, as well as in the United States.

Called SVL12, Agere's platform is a Class 12 General Packet Radio Service (GPRS) hardware and software system solution. GPRS is a 2.5-generation wireless technology and a bridge to third-generation wireless technology that offers faster Internet data transmission speeds than today's typical wireless handsets. These higher speeds can enable numerous applications such as Web browsing, e-banking, video clips, and games.

Agere's Class 12 platform, for example, can enable a handset user to download (receive) data at up to 50 Kilobits per second (Kbits/s) and also send the data to a wireless network at up to the same speed. Applications benefiting from increased data transmission from the handset to the network include sending emails with attachments, and uploading files such as contracts, order forms, and reports from outside the office.

Agere's system-on-a-chip platform reduces the number of components to approximately 150 — down from about 300 on previous-generation technology--thereby shaving electronics components costs. Using Agere's Man Machine Interface (MMI) and production test tools, the manufacturer can get its handset to production in about six months, saving up to a year in design and development time.

Agere's platform — the second the company has introduced for GPRS applications since last year — also offers product design flexibility for handset manufacturers. The platform houses the core baseband technologies, including digital signal processing (DSP) functions, radio frequency modules and system input/output on one side of the printed circuit board, and reference MMI on the other. The platform's baseband technologies are designed as separate modules that can be placed in different sections of the handset. This makes it easier for manufacturers to offer both "clam shell" design handsets, standard handsets, and PC-card modules. By contrast, today's platforms have core components on both sides of the circuit board, which restrict the flexibility manufacturers have to design their technologies on the board and offer various types of handsets.

The solution includes Agere's proven Layer 1 DSP software and complete protocol stack software provided by Optimay GmbH, an Agere subsidiary. The MMI software allows, even after production, extensive customizing of the MMI by the handset manufacturer or network operator. A customized applications layer, residing on top of the protocol stack, allows complete flexibility over the look and feel of the handset, such as tailored bitmaps, animations, ring tones, and menu structures.

Because Agere designs virtually all the hardware and software required for a Class 12 handset, a handset manufacturer only has to add a few differentiating features to its handset before delivering it to market. In addition, the Agere chip set, coupled with the protocol stack software provided by Optimay, leaves available an additional 50 percent in performance for software applications while running Class 8 GPRS.

The platform uses Agere's Sceptre® 3 chip set, which includes a digital baseband chip integrating the company's DSP16000 with an ARM7 TDMI microcontroller. The CSP1093C mixed signal chip and the PSC2011 power management chip are also included.