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Analogue at the edge?

Is digital technology set to displace analogue design? By Graham Pitcher.

The recent launch by Texas Instruments of its Digital RF technology was accompanied by a provocative statement, particularly if you are an analogue specialist.

The Digital RF Processor, says TI, can perform analogue functions using low power, digital cmos logic. 'Since large blocks of cmos logic can operate at multiGHz frequencies', it claimed, 'sampled data processing techniques, switched capacitor filters, oversampling converters and digital signal processors can take over the role of analogue amplifiers, filters and mixers'.

The statement raises an interesting question; are the days of analogue electronics numbered?

To be fair to TI, the Digital RF processor is aimed squarely at one application: the mobile 'phone. Bill Krenik, who manages the company's wireless advanced architecture, said the big motivation was the increasing number of features now being offered in a mobile 'phone. "There's a lot of sophistication," he claimed, "particularly interface technology. With our OMAP technology, we can support games, organiser features and applications."

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Graham Pitcher

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