Smart Phones

Mobile (or cellular) phones have become one of the most common communications devices in everyday use. Apart from simple voice calls, today's mobile phones are capable of offering many other services, such as text and multimedia messaging, entertainment (playback of stored music and FM radio), and photography. High-end mobile phones, which run on specially designed technology platforms and contain advanced computing and connectivity features (such as Internet and email access), are generally known as smartphones. With advances in all fields of technology, the line between a normal phone and a smartphone has blurred significantly.

Samsung is the industry leader when it comes to supplying components for mobile phones - from the most basic, entry-level instruments, to the most advanced, multi-functional handsets that are complete computers in themselves. OEMs and designers across the globe rely on Samsung for world-class devices and components, such as memory, processors, and displays, to bring their designs to market in the shortest time and at the lowest cost.

The following illustration shows the block diagram of a typical mobile phone.

Block Diagram

Samsung Semiconductor Block Diagram Application Processors Mobile DRAM MCP eMMC Flash Card Display Driver IC CMOS Image Sensor PMIC NFC SIM Card

Figure 1 shows the primary components of a mobile phone - the application processor, the memory subsection, the power management and display driver ICs, the CMOS image sensor, the near-field communication (NFC) solution, and the SIM card IC. Samsung provides solutions for mobile phones across all these device segments.

For low power, battery operated devices, such as mobile phones, ARM is most widely used and adopted architecture across the world. Samsung has an extensive line-up of application processors based on the ARM platform. Samsung's complete range of advanced, low power application processors are designed for exceptional performance with the latest features, and are backed by a comprehensive suite of software development and support tools.

Currently, Samsung offers application processors with the following ARM cores (listed in increasing order of capabilities):

  • ARM 7 Series
  • ARM 9 Series
  • ARM 11 Series
  • Cortex A8 Series
  • Cortex A9 Series

Application Processors

Samsung application processors are the industry's best SoCs with the maximum number of features integrated on the silicon, resulting in the minimum number of additional external components required for the application, reducing time-to-market for the products. Some of the principal advantages of using Samsung application processors in designs for mobile phones include:

  • Highly optimized ARM-based cores:
    Samsung application processors use industry-standard ARM cores, which are the benchmark for mobile, portable, and low-power computing and communication devices.
  • Support for multiple memory types:
    Samsung application processors support all major types of memory used today, such as mDDR (mobile DDR) and LPDDR (Low Power DDR), as well as the latest and newest memory technologies, such as moviNAND.
  • Integrated, on-chip peripherals:
    Samsung application processors include an array of several standard peripherals on the chip, eliminating the need for external interfaces, saving design costs and time. Examples of integrated peripherals include a 24-bit true color LCD controller, AC-97 audio codec, IrDA codec, and USB 2.0 OTG controller.
  • Extensive software support:
    Samsung application processors come with a comprehensive suite of software solutions, such as Board Support Packages (BSPs), which reduce software and firmware development costs and time for the final product. Additionally, these packages also make it easy to port applications developed for one family of Samsung processors (such as those based on the ARM 9 series) to another family (such as the Cortex A9 series processors).

Mobile DRAM

Samsung Mobile DRAM Solutions for Smartphones

Today, smartphone users want it all-leading-edge performance and prolonged battery life. Samsung Mobile DRAM solutions enable designers to address both requirements within an elegant and lightweight form factor.

Delivering extended battery life

Our low-power DDR2 (LPDDR2) and LPDDR3 mobile memory solutions are designed to extend the life of a seven-hour battery by about 45 minutes during typical mobile operation. For standby power, the savings are even more dramatic. For example, Samsung's LPDDR2 or LPDDR3 memory enables up to three additional days of standby battery life for a smartphone, which is a 23 percent improvement over LPDDR1-from 12.5 to 15.4 days.

More benefits from our offerings

Samsung Mobile DRAM solutions offer designers an extensive choice of package and densities for a wide variety of design options. Choose from our LPDDR2 or LPDDR3 mobile memory solutions. depending on AP and performance requirements.

The following illustratieson shows the block diagram of a typical smartphone.

Put exceptional memory technology to work for you

A leading provider of DRAM including 20nm-class and 30nm-class solutions, Samsung delivers the latest memory technology, to meet or exceed design requirements. Samsung Mobile DRAM technology provides significant power efficiency compared to previous-generation technologies, while improving performance, for the best in smartphone designs.


MCP, or multi-chip package, is not a type of memory, but rather a form of packaging memory chips to reduce the area they occupy and increase their available densities (per chip). An embedded device, such as a mobile phone, may use a combination of several memory types, such as NAND flash, mobile SDRAM, and mobile DDR SDRAM. MCP introduces the concept of unifying multiple types of memory chips onto a single substrate, enabling the rest of the device modules to view the memory subsection as a single, unified "block". Within the substrate, the memory devices may be connected using a variety of techniques, such as die-to-die bonding or die-to-frame bonding. This technique significantly improves the performance of the device's memory subsection and reduces the board space used due to the integration of several chips onto a single substrate. Samsung has a vast portfolio of MCP products for a variety of solutions, including mobile phones.


The eMMC standard describes an architecture that consists of three components - an embedded storage solution with an MMC interface, a type of flash memory, and a controller - all integrated in a single BGA package. eMMC capable embedded memory devices contain not only a data storage element (such as NAND flash memory), but also a controller for the storage element integrated on the same silicon die. This results in several advantages, such as reduced development time and easier integration of the memory block in the overall system. Ultimately, this leads to a much shorter time-to-market for the product. Samsung is one of the main providers of eMMC technology across the world.

Flash Card

Samsung Flash Cards for Smartphones

Superior product design is essential to success in the smartphone market. Apart from simple voice calls, smartphones may offer text and multimedia messaging, entertainment, photography and advanced computing capabilities. The growth in smartphones is intensifying requirements for higher flash card memory densities. Whether you are designing retail or OEM solutions, Samsung has a easy-to-configure, high-density flash card to optimize your applications in this fast-evolving market.

Benefits of using the latest Samsung flash cards for smartphone designs include:

  • Configurability to match different communications interfaces
  • High data rates to support the performance requirements of 4G smartphones
  • Fast simultaneous loading of smartphone applications

Work with a leader in smartphone components

Samsung is a world-leading supplier of components for mobile phones - from entry-level instruments to advanced, multifunctional handsets that are complete computers in themselves. OEMs and designers across the globe depend on Samsung for their memory and other components to bring designs to market in the shortest possible time and at the lowest possible cost.

Click on the diagram for solution details

In addition to flash cards, Samsung provides solutions for smartphones across a broad range of component segments. The following block diagram shows the architecture of a typical smartphone. Blue-shaded blocks represent components offered by Samsung. Click on a block and information about that component will appear below the diagram.

Display Driver IC

Since display is one of the most important output devices in a mobile phone, it is vital that the performance and quality of the phone's display subsystem remain above a certain minimum threshold at all times for a good user experience. In a typical mobile phone, the display driver IC (DDI) is mapped to the phone's application processor and it controls the device's LCD display. While entry-level mobile phones have display resolutions as low as 128 x 160 pixels, some of the latest and most advanced handsets have displays with resolutions as high as 800 x 480 pixels.

Samsung is one of the main innovators of LCD and LED display technology (including the latest touchscreen technologies), and has been at the forefront of providing the most advanced DDI solutions for mobile phones. Samsung provides DDI solutions for displays of varying resolutions.

CMOS Image Sensor

As the quality of smartphone cameras continues to improve, many consumers are relying solely on their smartphone to share visual experiences and transmit them quickly. And now, consumers can take advantage of smartphones capabilities to edit snapshots and videos. Samsung CMOS image sensor (CIS) solutions enable the performance of a digital still camera (DSC) in a compact size to fit ultra-thin smartphones.

Ultra-sharp, ultra-clear images

Samsung CIS solutions offer high resolutions to help ensure that images are tack-sharp, capturing fine detail and textures. Samsung's proprietary Back Side Illumination (BSI) technology enables increased pixel sensitivity to produce bright, low-noise pictures and video in a variety of lighting conditions.

Fast frame rates

The sensors provide heightened responsiveness for rapid-fire still photography and FHD/ HD, full field-of-view video capture for images in motion.

Low power

Samsung CIS solutions use the latest process technologies as well as optimized sensor architectures for low-power operation that lets consumers increase the number of photos and videos they take without worrying about draining the battery.

Thin design

To enable the thinnest possible smartphones with high resolution, Samsung CIS solutions use small pixels that leverage advanced processes and architectures to maintain sensitivity, enabling low Z-height module design.

Work with a leader in smartphone components

Samsung is a leading supplier of components for smartphones - from entry-level devices to highly advanced, multifunctional handsets. We understand the importance of balancing size, usability, and long battery life in a product design that will appeal to today's consumers.


Since mobile phones are battery-powered, there is great emphasis to conserve power and extend the usable duration of the phone. Dedicated circuits are present in current generation mobile phones and smartphones to achieve this goal.

A power management IC (PMIC) is present in a mobile phone to reduce the phone's power consumption when it is not in use (that is, when it is in "Standby Mode"). The PMIC is controlled directly by the phone's application processor, and it performs functions such as charging the battery, monitoring battery levels, and sending interrupts (alerts) to the application processor when the battery level falls to critically low values. Efficient PMICs not only offer extended durations of usage to the phone user, but also prolong the life of the rechargeable battery used in the phone.

Samsung has a wide array of power management solutions for deployment in all types of mobile communications devices. These solutions ensure optimum utilization of the device's battery, and contain several advanced features that the device's application processor can leverage to maximize the usable duration of the device for the user. Samsung's advanced power management ICs contain the following features, designed to achieve these goals:

  • On-chip lithium-ion battery charger:
    For a battery-powered communication device, such as a mobile handset, Samsung's power management ICs provide a highly efficient lithium-ion battery charger on-chip. The charger supports a wide range of variable charging currents from 90 mA to 800 mA, and has three charging modes, listed below:
    • - Pre-charge Mode
    • - Fast charge Constant Current Mode
    • - Fast charge Constant Voltage Mode
    • - A backup battery charger on the chip also ensures that critical tasks, such as charging the phone's main battery, remain unaffected by any external factors.
  • Use of high-efficiency, LDO (Low Drop-Out) buck converters:
    Samsung's power management ICs are optimized for wireless, handheld, mobile communication devices, and use highly efficient and programmable buck converters, with the added advantage of low drop-out voltages (between 1.2 V to 3.3 V, at an operating current range of 10 mA to 450 mA). The buck converters are programmable in steps of 25 mV, providing fine-grained control over the output voltage. Furthermore, the devices use the principle of DVS (Dynamic Voltage Scaling) to achieve very high efficiency levels.
  • On-chip RTC and manual reset facilities:
    Samsung's efficient power management solutions contain an RTC (Real Time Clock) on the device, eliminating the need for external clock sources. The device can also be reset manually, if needed.
  • Wide operating voltage range:
    Samsung's power management ICs are capable of operating over voltage ranges as wide as 3.2 V to 5.5 V, providing high margins and tolerances for input supply voltage variations.
  • I2C control interface:
    PMICs offered by Samsung are controlled by the industry-standard I2C bus, making the design for their control subsystem in the mobile device quick and easy.
  • Extensive design flexibility:
    Samsung's advanced power management ICs contain features that provide the designer extensive flexibilities to adjust the default output voltages and currents with a high degree of accuracy, ensuring stable output for the application at all times.

Samsung's efficient power management devices are deployed in the most advanced cellular handsets, smartphones, and tablet PCs in use today.


Several of the latest mobile handsets are equipped with an advanced feature, known as near-field communication (NFC). NFC is a technology that allows a wireless connection and data transfer between two devices in close physical proximity to each other (usually, a few centimeters). NFC has been implemented in mobile phones primarily to enable mobile handsets to act as payment gateways, e-tickets, and let mobile devices act as electronic identity cards (such as a medical ID card).

Samsung has several NFC solutions to offer, including the latest devices that support data encryption, along with high-density flash chips that provide sufficient capacity to store several details about the user. Samsung is also the preferred supplier of NFC chips to OEMs and designers worldwide.

SIM Card

The SIM card, used in a typical mobile phone, is responsible for providing the phone with its "identity". The basic functions of the SIM are to store the IMSI and related information to identify the phone on compatible worldwide cellular networks.

Samsung has been one of the key developers of next-generation SIM card technology. The latest SIM cards introduced by Samsung have advanced features, such as high-density storage (flash), single-wire protocol (SWP) compliance, and data encryption, providing increased security of the stored data for the user. Other capabilities built into Samsung SIM cards offer important and convenient advantages to the user, such as allowing the card to be used for secure authentication.

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