As per the research firm Gartner, the global sales of smartphones is estimated to hit 1.5 billion units this year. Faster connectivity, high-quality cameras, and long-lasting battery life are said to drive this growth. However, it is challenging to design a smartphone that will satisfy consumer demand and retain a sleek form factor. Adding to this design complexity, there is an ever-increasing demand for data from one region to another, thereby driving the need for region-specific smartphone variants.
In this scenario, Forefront RF, a Cambridge-based fabless semiconductor company has entered the global smartphone market with £1.5 million in its first funding round. The investment round was led by Bristol-based Science Creates Ventures including Foresight Williams Technology, BGF, and The Cambridge Angels. The funds will be used to recruit a world-class team to accelerate the launch of its products.
Forefront RF was founded in 2020 by Dr Leo Laughlin, Julian Hildersley and Phil O’Donovan. It is set to change the way global smartphones, wearables and IoT Devices are designed. The revolutionary chip enables connected devices to operate across the increasingly wide range of 3G to 6G mobile telephony frequency bands.
Harry Destecroix, General Partner at Science Creates Ventures, commented: “We are extremely impressed by the Forefront RF team and their technology, and are delighted to be working with them and our co-investors. Together, we will enable the company to accelerate its impact on this important global industry.”
Revolutionary new chip
Forefront RF’s cancellation technology redesigns the radio frequency (RF) system in a wireless device, enabling manufacturers to simplify the design and delivery of frequency agnostic products, whilst reducing cost and supply chain waste.
The chip uses Forefront RF’s Adaptive Passive Cancellation (APC) technology as in noise-cancelling headphones. Its APC chip replaces the banks of RF filters and switches with a low-cost, tunable RF circuit. The component uses embedded software to maintain the accuracy of unique passive self-interference cancellation circuits. With this, the smartphone’s receiver can “hear” even the weakest signals while transmitting at full power.
Laughlin commented: “The growth in mobile networks driven by the ever-increasing demand for data means that available frequency bands vary from region to region and, using today’s technology, has driven the need for region-specific smartphone variants each including multiple RF components. The space consumed within each smartphone adds cost and leads to inefficiencies in the supply chain.”