Posted on 05 July 2019

Benefits in Portable Consumer Applications

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Using an Intelligent Power Management Solution

In today’s consumer electronics marketplace, it’s become increasingly difficult to separate different classes of products. Users now demand more from their mobile phones than simply making and receiving calls, and their portable navigation devices (PNDs) need to do more than just get them from point A to point B. This feature set convergence among Smartphones, PNDs, mobile gaming platforms and other handheld consumer products is a huge benefit to consumers as it provides them with a wealth of feature-rich products to choose from.

By Casey Springer, Senior Product Marketing Engineer, Analog Group, IDT


At the same time, this trend also creates tremendous challenges for designers of these portable applications as they must now incorporate all of these disparate functions into a single space-sensitive device while also differentiating their product from their competition. In many cases, this is done by including higher quality audio, improving the user interface experience, reducing form-factor and increasing battery life. Now, thanks to a new class of highly integrated intelligent system power management solutions, designers have a tool that will help give them the differentiation they’re after while, at the same time, providing them with a flexible architecture that can be used across multiple platforms and product generations.

Flexibility and Integration Reduce Time to Market

The need to incorporate a broad range of functions into a single device not only highlights the need for a high degree of integration to reduce form factor, but also a need for an intelligent, programmable power management solution that can support the requirements of the application’s processor, system memory and other peripheral components, such as WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS. Today, many power management solutions are optimized to operate with a specific application’s processor, which can make the design of a single system easier. However, many OEMs that develop a broad range of products targeted at a variety of geographic and demographic requirements can benefit from a more flexible and integrated solution that can be reused across multiple platforms and with different application processors.

Recent offerings, such as the IDTP95020 intelligent system power management solution, achieve this level of flexibility by adopting a unique architecture that includes an embedded microcontroller (see Figure 1). The embedded microcontroller is used to manage all the on-chip resources and supports the dynamically programmable system power regulation blocks and an on-chip power management scheme that gives the solution its flexibility. In addition to its programmable switch-mode DC-to-DC converters and low-dropout (LDO) regulators, the IDTP95020 has also integrated battery charge management, white LED drivers, low-power stereo audio and voice codecs with a mixer function, Class-D amplifier and headphone driver, a PLL for on-chip and off-chip clock generation, and a touch-screen controller (see Figure 1). Each of these functional blocks is fully programmable and can be controlled by the embedded microcontroller via predefined scripting sequences loaded to the internal memory or external EEPROM. This allows the IDTP95020 to operate autonomously from the application processor, reducing its need to handle general housekeeping and the monitoring of real-time events. The IDTP95020 also allows its functional blocks to be controlled by the application processor through writes to registers via one of two I2C interfaces.

The IDTP95020 Intelligent Power Management Solution

This level of flexibility and programmability not only allows the IDTP95020 to satisfy the dynamic voltage adjustments required by various application processors, but it also enables designers to quickly modify a single power management solution to address the different peripheral requirements of products across their portfolio. The ability to reuse a single solution across multiple products can significantly reduce the design resources required to complete these projects and can help bring these products to market more quickly. Moreover, a reusable power management solution also helps to streamline procurement and simplifies inventory management.

System-Level Impact of Complex User Interfaces

Touch screens have quickly moved from a luxury feature to a standard feature across a variety of consumer products. Adopting an intelligent power management solution, such as the IDTP95020 that includes an integrated touch screen controller and WLED driver, not only allows designers to quickly and easily add this feature without the need for multiple discrete components but it also helps to reduce the burden on the application processor and reduce system power consumption (see Figure 2). By offloading the need to monitor the touch screen, push buttons and other user inputs from the application processor to the an intelligent system power management solution, the application processor can use its high-performance processing capabilities on more value-added functions or spend more time in idle or full standby states that reduce total system power consumption. The IDTP95020 also offloads the need to control the WLED backlight from the application processor. By integrating the WLED driver and touch screen controller, along with the ability to monitor other analog system measurements using its 12-bit ADC, the IDTP95020 eliminates the need for the application processor to be involved in waking up the display or controlling its brightness.

Using an Integrated Power Management Solution Simplifies Design

Integrated Codec Makes Audio Easier

In many portable applications, particularly those based on discrete application and baseband processors, there will be multiple audio inputs and outputs that need to be merged and tuned. This creates a need for a centralized audio mixer, and in many architectures, the application processor is used to perform this function. However, because audio mixing is very CPU-intensive, this can place a large burden on the application processors’ resources and result in significant power consumption. An intelligent system power management solution with an embedded audio codec provides a better solution. By offloading the audio mixing from the application processor, an integrated power management solution, such as the IDTP95020,reduces the processing burden on the application processor, which allows those resources to be used on other functions or to reduce system power consumption by putting the processor into a lowerpower standby state (see Figure 3).

Audio Routing and Mixing in the IDT P95020

Development Environment

While a fully programmable intelligent system power management solution affords designers a great deal of integration and flexibility, it also requires the creation of user-defined power sequencing and scripts to respond to various interrupts and events. To ensure that the creation of these sequences and scripts don’t have a detrimental impact on a project’s time to market, it is imperative that any power management solution come complete with a robust development environment. The development tools for the IDTP95020 include an evaluation board that can be connected directly to a designer’s PC. The designer can then make use of the IDT GUI-based scripting tool, which features a user-friendly drag-and-drop interface for defining power rail sequencing and the ability to create and run TCL scripts to put the IDTP95020 through a pre-defined sequence of actions and settings. Once the designer has completed these scripting files, the tool then allows them to be loaded directly to the EEPROM on the evaluation board (see Figure 4).

IDT P95020 Development Environment

Making Power Management a Strategic Decision

Historically, power management has been one of the last elements considered in the design of many portable consumer applications. While this approach has historically served designers well, the increasing complexity of portable consumer devices and the need to include a broad range of features while still maximizing battery life places greater importance on the selection of a power management solution. The development of intelligent system power management solutions, such as the IDTP95020, now enables designers to make the strategic decision to adopt a flexible, integrated solution that can be used across multiple product platforms and generation. Such a decision can reduce the design resources needed to develop multiple products and reduce time to market while, at the same time, help to optimize system performance and power consumption.



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