7 interface standards you must have to design mobile devices and how to make sure they work

Everyone knows that there’s a standard set of interfaces that PC chipsets must support: the DDR standard of the day (today it’s likely to be DDR3, tomorrow DDR4), PCIe, Ethernet (10/100/1G), USB (today it’s 2.0, tomorrow 3.0), and HDMI to name a few. Now there’s a set of standard interfaces coalescing in the mobile market as well. To support this emerging coalition of interface standards, Cadence has just announced verification IP support for the key mobile interface standards including the following:

LPDDR3: The latest low-power SDRAM interface standard (still under development). You don’t build any devices these days without SDRAM and you don’t build mobile devices without low-power SDRAM.

eMMC 4.5 and Universal Flash Storage (UFS): Likewise, you don’t build mobile devices these days without Flash memory. UFS is a common flash storage specification for digital cameras, mobile phones and consumer electronic devices. eMMC 4.5 is the latest iteration of the Embedded Multi-Media Card interface spec, which jumps interface bandwidth from 104 to 200 Mbytes/sec.

USB 3.0 OTG (on the go): This is the enhanced version of USB 2.0 OTG. The new version supports use of the mobile device as a host or a device. Why is this important? Think of a smartphone or tablet controlling a digital camera. Hard to imagine? Refer to this previous EDA360 Insider blog entry: “Can an $8.48 app sell $500 tablets and smartphones? You betcha!

MIPI LLI (Low-Latency Interface): A chip-to-chip interface specification from the MIPI Alliance that’s designed to permit transparent, high-speed communications between two chips and DRAM (to  reduce manufacturing cost) or between an applications processor and a companion processor that supports interchip transactions without software intervention. (Interesting fact of the day from the MIPI Alliance Web site: “MIPI is not an acronym and has no specific meaning.”)

MIPI CSI-3 (Camera Serial Interface): “…a standard, robust, scalable, low-power, high-speed, cost-effective interface that supports a wide range of imaging solutions for mobile devices” from the MIPI Alliance.

cJTAG: The compact JTAG interface designed with reduced pin count and other added features specifically to meet the needs for testing mobile devices.

In case you’re wondering why these mobile interfaces are important, take a look at this graph from the MIPI Alliance Web site:

We’re talking billions of chips here. And nearly all of them will be sporting several of the interfaces listed above.

For more information, see Richard Goering’s blog: “Seven Emerging Mobile Device Standards – and How to Verify Them


About sleibson2

EDA360 Evangelist and Marketing Director at Cadence Design Systems (blog at https://eda360insider.wordpress.com/)
This entry was posted in EDA360, Mobile, Verification and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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