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USB-C finds growing role in wearables and mobile products

first_imgEnergy consumption is one of the biggest challenges for the mobile technology sector. USB-C was supposed to be primarily a connectivity option, but it is increasingly finding favor because it is also a useful means of managing power in portable devices.In this ever-evolving mobile ecosystem, devices become more and more intelligent and powerful, which means that they all require more energy to work. Although manufacturers strive to reduce battery consumption, the common problem with smartphones, wearable devices, fitness bracelets, tablets, and laptops is the high energy consumption after a couple of hours of use at full capacity, necessitating a session with power supply to recharge the battery. Therefore, one of the many challenges for designers is assessing the energy factor, estimating the energy needed, and designing very efficient power management configuration.In the design of a wireless charging system, a fundamental parameter is represented by the amount of charging power required to replenish the battery. The received power depends on innumerable factors, including the level of the transmitted power, the distance, and the alignment between the transmitting winding and the receiver, otherwise defined as “coupling” and, finally, the tolerance of the components of the transmitter and of the receiver. Nobody has time to wait for a battery to be recharged: the shorter the time to recharge the battery, the better the user experience. This is well understood in the consumer electronics market and all the major brands are trying to reduce charge times.Devices with a USB-C port recharge quickly and offer ultra-fast transfer speeds for connection to peripherals and external devices. USB-C also supports audio and video output and is compatible with HDMI, VGA, and DisplayPort displays. USB-C is on track to become the industry standard for manufacturers of all types of devices.But while USB-C simplifies things for end users, it increases complexity from the design and engineering point of view. There are substantial design and test challenges that designers have to face with the creation of a USB Type-C power connector that allows compatibility and reversible use with all other types. The USB port has evolved from its initial use mainly as a data interface, subsequently becoming the main means of charging portable electronic devices.ALT TEXT HEREFigure 1: SM58IP04 single-chipSilicon Mitus has four lines of products that address the mobile device and consumer electronics market, LCD and OLED display market, and the charging accessory market. The main applications are power management integrated circuits (PMIC) for smartphone applications such as IF PMIC/Battery management with Quick charging, complete USB Type-C solutions, and wireless chargers; PMIC solutions for LCD and OLED displays for smartphones, monitors and large TVs; Audio products for boosted Class-D amplifiers, high-performance audio codec, and surface sound for flat panel displays; PMIC solutions for computing applications and USB Type-C battery chargers.“We have shipped over 3.5 billion ICs in these markets to date.” said Youm Huh, CEO of Silicon Mitus, a South Korean company based in Pangyo (Seoul) specializing in analog IC products. “Automotive is another market we are addressing with PMIC, as well as audio products for automotive infotainment and display modules. Silicon Mitus provides Power management IC to module manufacturers of rear-view cameras of the latest generation of cars (replacing the glass mirrors).”Silicon Mitus recently announced the SM58IP04: a single-chip buck-boost USB Type-C Narrow VDC (NVDC) charger targeting 2S/3S and 4S battery applications. It achieves up to 95% efficiency while in both buck- or boost-mode charging the battery up to 6 A due to advanced thermal management.“We are extremely satisfied with the performances of SM58IP04: it has been quickly adopted in computing applications where the product has been very effective in delivering great performance, with a small PCB solution size and cost-saving,” said Gianfranco Scherini, the company’s VP of business development. “This product combines the features of a multi-cell battery charger with the full support of the USB Type-C and PD specification.”The USB Type-C standard meets the needs of the market in terms of power delivery and data rate, but above all, in terms of the ever-increasing quantity of devices able to interconnect. It is a reversible connector, meaning you don’t need to know the connection direction. The USB Type-C standard adapts to be a perfect connection for accessories and external peripherals, but also for powering laptops and other devices. Indeed, the USB Type-C Power Delivery (PD) standard supports currents up to 5A and 20V, making it possible to deliver up to 100Watts of power. Given the current levels, the standard requires appropriate protections, without which it could damage the device.“We have proven that our strategy to push the efficiency of our buck-boost and at the same time aggressively target the highest level of integration was right. Customers really appreciate the advantages of a simple, highly efficient solution that integrates the full support for the USB Type-C power path together with a battery charger. With the use of the SM58IP04, each USB Type-C port behaves exactly the same and hence, it offers another level of flexibility to the system design when trying to accommodate different form factors with a common platform. We saw the potential in the USB Type-C with the release of the Power Delivery specification 3.0 and in a large amount of new use models, and this is just the beginning. Let’s think about the capability to deliver up to 100Watts of power — 5Amp * 20 volts — with the possibility to negotiate the values of the voltages and current in any shape or form needed, ” said Scherini.The main obstacle to implementing energy-saving solutions lies in thermal management. Technological advances in design have continually increased the need to protect components against heat build-up. For a semiconductor manufacturer, silicon packaging is a key distinguishing factor. Specifications such as thermal dissipation and overall system requirements depend largely on the packaging.“Thermal management plays a very important role. As consumers are moving towards slimmer, fan-less notebook PCs, one of the challenges is keeping the system within a comfortable temperature to the touch and within the IC temperature range of operation,“ said Huh.One of the critical conditions happens while the user connects the system with the power supply: in order to allow users to recharge a device in the shortest amount of time we need to pump as much power as possible into battery at once. For example, in notebook PC and Chromebook applications it is common for the charger to deliver between 45 to 65 Watts of power to the battery. This implies that with every single percentage point of efficiency loss more than half a watt is dissipated locally on the very small area of the PCB board and generates heat increasing the local temperature. Share this:TwitterFacebookLinkedInMoreRedditTumblrPinterestWhatsAppSkypePocketTelegram Tags: Chips & Components, Power Continue Reading Previous Are standalone AI processors a dead end?Next Struggling to get the best engineers for your embedded projects? Figure 2: circuit layout for the SM58IP04 single-chipTherefore, the hardware performance requirements address the electronics increasingly towards architectures with high-energy efficiency, so that they can support more configurations and accurate control in order to preserve the characteristics of the devices for the near future.“SM58IP04 helps to solve this problem by addressing both the high-efficiency of the buck-boost and the optimal thermal dissipation with a package technology that maximizes the heat flow through the PCB. The higher the efficiency of the charger, the smaller the amount of power being dissipated inside the enclosure of the device, the better the heat gets dissipated thru the motherboard, the lower the temperature in the system,” said Huh.“To support the growth in research and development, in 2017 we opened a new Design Centre in Pavia, Italy, where we find an attractive pool of skilled analog designers. We are fully equipped to deliver the latest generation of battery charger products so that our customers can take full advantage of the USB Type-C features in Mobile and Laptop applications,” said Huh. “That is why we decided to invest in USB Type-C battery chargers for laptop/Chromebook applications and cap dividers used in mobile applications. The output voltage of the SM58IP04 can be programmed with a granularity of 12.5mV — fully compliant with the USB PD3.0 requiring a minimum step of 20mV. With our product portfolio, Silicon Mitus enables new architectures for battery chargers that can bypass any internal power conversion in the device, hence eliminating the main source of power losses while keeping the current flowing into the cable within 3A. This eliminates the need for more expensive cables, as above 3A, the USB standard requires the use of a more expensive e-marked cable,“ Huh added.Power management devices are increasingly smarter and more efficient. The demand for such devices is increasing rapidly due to advanced features and technology. The global PMIC market is expected to expand to a CAGR of 4.6% over the next few years and reach $ 56.48 billion by 2026.>> This article was originally published on our sister site, EE Times. last_img read more

Why You Need High Quality Apps to Stay Relevant

first_img Register Now » This story originally appeared on Bizness Apps Free Webinar | Sept. 9: The Entrepreneur’s Playbook for Going Global The app marketplace has vaulted into the millions but in some ways nothing has changed. Consumers only use about 26 or 27 apps a month, according to a Nielsen report posted last month. The time consumers spend with those apps is increasing though– up 63% over the past two years.In the fourth quarter of 2012, consumers spent approximately 23 hours per month engaging with their apps. That number rose to just over 30 hours in 2013 and nearly 37.5 hours in Q4, 2014. Mobile phone and app usage is constantly increasing but that is still huge, seven hours in a year is a long time – nearly an entire work week per month spent on the phone. Comparatively, the average number of installed apps per phone only increased from 26.5 to 26.7. So how does your app make that cut? With more and more apps being introduced every day, app makers are going to have to toughen their fight to be one of the apps that get regular use.Small businesses investing in mobile need to make sure their apps make it into the magic two-dozen or so apps that customers use regularly. Otherwise, it’s a massive waste of money and time. Find features that customers will use everyday – loyalty, shopping, push notifications and food ordering. These are proven to bring customers back as well as increase revenue. Customers love convenience as well as an opportunity to save money. Just yesterday I ordered my dinner through an app on my phone and they offered me a coupon as a thanks!Think about how often you use your phone and what apps you use. It’s easy to point them out but which ones really give you value? The best apps are able to incorporate a bit of each and would therefore become a mainstay within the top 26.Social Media apps are only as good as the user wants them to be. They rarely provide any in-depth information, besides updates from friends. Plus spam message and videos. Smaller apps use social media logins for forums as well as in-app commenting.Food Ordering apps are becoming more and more popular for the eater on the go. Or, like me, the master of convenience. Rarely on computers anymore, users go to their phone first and these apps provide instant access to multiple restaurants. Now, imagine that the restaurant had their own ordering system and did not have to share any information or fees with the existing services. More convenient and direct, an app with food ordering capability built-in would be a game-changer or an individual restaurant.Informational apps are simple, direct and to the point. Think banking or transit schedules. They’re not flashy but provide exactly what you need to know. Small businesses can incorporate informational aspects but also include a stylistic flair not found in most apps that are similar.Building a strong app for your small business that incorporates these points will transform your customer relationships and grant you staying power within the industry.  3 min read Growing a business sometimes requires thinking outside the box. July 13, 2015last_img read more

According to a report Microsoft plans for new 4K webcams featuring facial

first_imgMicrosoft plans to introduce two new webcams next year. One feature is designed to extend Windows Hello facial recognition to all the Windows 10 PCs. The other feature will work with the Xbox One, bringing back the Kinect feature that let users automatically sign in by moving in front of the camera. These webcams will be working with multiple accounts and family members. Microsoft is also planning to launch its Surface Hub 2S in 2019, an interactive, digital smart board for the modern workplace that features a USB-C port and upgradeable processor cartridges. PC users have relied on alternatives from Creative, Logitech, and Razer to bring facial recognition to desktop PCs. The planned webcams will be linked to the USB-C webcams that would ship with the Surface Hub 2, whichwill be launched next year. Though the Surface Hub 2X is expected in 2020. In an interview with The Verge in October, Microsoft Surface Chief, Panos Panay suggested that Microsoft could release USB-C webcam soon. “Look at the camera on Surface Hub 2, note it’s a USB-C-based camera, and the idea that we can bring a high fidelity camera to an experience, you can probably guess that’s going to happen,” hinted Panos in October. A camera could possibly be used to extend experience beyond its own Surface devices. The camera for Windows 10, for the first time, will bring facial recognition to all Windows 10 PCs. Currently, Windows Hello facial recognition is restricted to the built-in webcams just like the ones on Microsoft’s Surface devices. According to Windows watcher Paul Thurrott, Microsoft is making the new 4K cameras for Windows 10 PCs and its gaming console Xbox One. The webcam will return a Kinect-like feature to the Xbox One which will allow users to authenticate by putting their face in front of the camera. With the recent Windows 10 update, Microsoft enabled WebAuthn-based authentication, that helps in signing into its sites such as Office 365 with Windows Hello and security keys. The Windows Hello-compatible webcams and FIDO2, a password-less sign in with Windows Hello at the core, will be launched together next year. It would be interesting to see how the new year turns out to be for Microsoft and its users with the major releases. Read Next Microsoft urgently releases Out-of-Band patch for an active Internet Explorer remote code execution zero-day vulnerability NYT says Facebook has been disclosing personal data to Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and other tech giants; Facebook denies claims with obfuscating press release Microsoft open sources Trill, a streaming engine that employs algorithms to process “a trillion events per day”last_img read more