22 ELECTRONIC NEWS

SEMICONDUCTORS DECEMBER 1 r , 2000
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1'elj'ort
the first GPRS phone with Blue-
tooth and the first to support
WAP 1.2.1. It also supports
nese characters.
AT&T Wireless serves more
than li5 million customers, con-
sumers, businesses and govern-
ment, with annual revenue ofmore
than $7 billion.
using Ericsson's analog cellular
networks throughout its 2G
deployments," said Mohan Gyani,
president and chief executive offi-
cer of AT&T Wireless Services.
The R520 phone supports
GSM 9{IOn8{)011900 frequencies,
allowing communication on one
phone throughout 120 countries
on five continents. The R520 is
established by HEmdrl Ltd. and
Hsinchu, Taiwan-based Umted
MkIf@l;!ftCOO'@IBksC@Il'p. (lJMq
has produced its first ICs two
months ahead of schedule
using 300mmwafers. The
Hitachinaka City, Japan-based
company claims it produced
the first wafers fabricated in a
300mmproduction facility
using O.18-micron technology.
Tricenti said it has demon-
strated reasonable first -silicon
yields of its functional 4Mbit
and 8Mbit SRAMchips.
"With the successful com-
pletion of this pilot run, we are
positioned to offer volume pro-
duction capacity well ahead of
the original scheduled
roadmap,' said Toshio
Nohara, president of Treccnti.
The 300Fi1mwafers have more
than twice the usable area of
200mm wafers, yielding
roughly 2.5 times the die. This
can significantly reduce the
manufacturing costs per chip.
When the process becomes
mature, Trecenti expects
300mmmanufacturing to lower
production costs by asmuch as
30 percent. Trcccnti was estab-
lished in March as a dedicated
wafer foundry with Hitachi
IC@<ltBWiMM @" p«glf 281
leeom
k"ENTI liNC.,
the joint-venture foundry
vide embedded systems design-
ers with a configurablc proces-
sor technology for system-on-
a-chip applications. The
Xtensa HI in particular allows
designers to integrate DSP and
CPU functions onto a single-
core microprocessor, Tensilica
said. The If also allows for
accelerated decoding, which
Tensilica says is critical in some
next-generation wireless tech-
nologies. The IF does this
through its instruction-set
extensions that are built into
the cores.
"Tcnsiiica's Xtensa technol-
ogy provides a powerful, cost-
effective processor solution,"
said Joe Montalbo, vice presi-
dent of the CustomSolutions
division of National Semicon-
ductor. "It uniquely Satisfies
the DSPas well as general-pur-
pose-processor needs in our
applications. We're looking
forward to utilizing its substan-
tial power and flcxibiiity in the
Ricochet chipset and bringing
our product to market in an
accelerated timeframe."
's
which followed Telfort's lJMTS
license award thissummer, was afol-
low-on to Telfort's 1997 contract
with Ericssonfor deliveryof afixed
switchingnetwork andin 1998for a
nationwide GSM J800 network.
The contract included delivery of
Ericsson's latest AXEsystems, intel-
ligent network services, microwave
radio MINI-LINK services, and
'= operation ami maintenance
services.
In March 1999 Telfort con-
tracted Ericsson for the next
expansion phase of the GSM net-
work and evolution of the infra-
structure for Ericsson's GPRS
systemincluding an Internet Pro-
tocol-based core network. Insign-
ing the agreement, Telfort became
the first Dutch operator to pur-
cnaseGPRS.
In other Ericsson news, the
company will supply network
equipment and mobile phones to
AT&TWireless in its move toward
30 wireless networks. The U.S.-
based company win usc Ericsson's
R520 mobile phones to launch its
GPRSnetwork, which.itsays, will
enhance the speed of mobile Inter-
net services to U.S. customers next
year. Ericsson will also provide
base-station systems including
GSMfor voice, GPRS for packet
data and EDGE, and UMTS for
higher-speed 30 applications.
"AT&T Wireless is currently

m:p., Santa Clara,
Calif., said today it will license
TeJm§8UC$ llme.'§ Xtensa HI intel-
lectual property (IP) to be
deployed in configurable
microprocessor cores for high-
speed Richochet modem tech-
nology that
Nationalis devel-
oping with
comme.
National said it
wants to drive the
Ricochet modem
technology into chipscts that
the company claims win deliver
a complete, easy-to-use,
mobile access technology tar-
geted at the wireless data prod-
uct sector. National and Metri-
com plan to jointly market the
chipset that is scheduled for
rollout sometime next year.
"Long a pioneer in analog
and digital components,
National is quickly becoming
the model for semiconductor
suppliers where the focus is on
rapid creation of information-
appliance solutions like this
new wireless communications
technology," said Chris
Rowen, president and chief
executive officer of Tensilica.
The Xtensa H' is said to pro-
Ericsson will provide Holland's
national and international
telecommunications services com-
pany, Telfort, a wholly owned sub-
sidiary of British
Telecommunications, with a com-
plete 30 UMTS network to be
delivered andinstalled in Holland
by the Swedish company.
The network will consist of a
complete WC'DMAsystem includ-
ing professional services and ter-
minals as well as development of
end-user equipment and services.
The contract represents a value
of$291.4 million.
"We expect strong synergy
effects between 2G, GPRS and
the 3Ginstallation," said Ton aan
de Stegge, Telfort's chief execu-
tive officer. "The UMTS services
Telfort plans to launch, focus on
M-office, unified messaging, loca-
tion-based services and enter-
tainment plus UMTS's
multimedia capability. This is a
logical extension of the GPRS-
based services Telfort plans to
launch before the t;MTS network
becomes operational."
This contract with Ericsson,
Eriess
but generaily cannot be upgraded
in the field, meaning that the
vocabulary is fixed from the fac-
tory. Speaker-dependent tech-
nology, which requires training to
recognize a particular speaker's
way of sayingwords, can be frus-
trating for kids to set up, but
offers the benefit of allowing
them to create customvocabular-
ies. For example, their owner can
name dolls and toy dogs. Newer
technologies enable toys to pick
out discrete key words from a
jumble of continuous speech.
For speech-recognition
engines to function properly,
they must receive a dean incom-
ing speech signal with a high sig-
nal-to-noise ratio. Signal
integrity can be degraded by
many factors such as poor board
layout, microphone placement,
wiring, power supply design, and
product housing design. Careful
attention to these factors will
allow the recognition algorithm
to work to its full potential in
challenging environmental con-
ditions such as noise or great dis-
tances. Regardless of the cause, if
the speech-recognition technol-
ogy doesn't approach 100per-
cent accuracy, the toy's popular-
ity will suffer precipitously.
Toy designers have to think
long and hard-- and have solid
understanding of child psychol-
ogy - to incorporate both speech
synthesis and speech recognition
into their toys. Kids don't always
follow predictable rules, nor do
they do or say what grown-ups
expect. This fact oflife puts enor-
mous pressure on toy designers
to create natural vet robust user-
interlaces that are flexible
enough to anticipate the wide
range of potential options.
The practical reality of
speech-recognition technology
dictates that kids must be guided,
through the design of the toy
itself, into using certain words
and not others.
Finally, there are a host of
design issues that have nothing
directly to do with speech recog-
nition or synthesis, but that are
crucial to both these technologies.
Speech technologies will no
doubt play an increasingly impor-
tant role in toys of the future. But
as we've seen, there's a lot more
to incorporatingthese technolo-
gies successfully into toys than
simply building the algorithms to
generate or recognize speech.
Toy designers andspeech tech-
nologists need to work together
from the outset tocreate products
that kids will love and that manu-
facturers will be able to create.
Today's smart toys may be child's
play, but their design is definitely
the realmof experts.
Erik Soule is director ofmarketing
at Sensory Inc. in Sunnyvale, Calif
COMMENT
ERIK SOULE
Designing'Ioys
No Child's Play
HEN IT COMES TO
toys, there's more
to speech activation
than meets the
ear especially for the latest crop
of toys that seems to understand
and respond to
human voice
commands.
Even more
amazing are the
toys that can
make sense of
kidsspoken
words and that keep working
despite the inevitable physical
punishment they receive in the
course ofplaytime.
Today's voice-recognition
technology for toys requires not
only accuracy and the ability to
operate in high-noise situations,
but also a systemic design
approach. Voice technologists
must consider everything from
the placement ofmicrophones
and sensors to the coordination
of voice with mechanical systems.
From a technical perspective,
that means an integrated, system-
level, whole-product approach.
The latest generation of smart
toys can change their actions
based on external stimuli, can
"learn" from past experiences,
and give the impression that they
arc truly interacting with kids.
Speech recognition and activa-
tion- the ability to "understand"
and respond 10 spoken words-
and speech synthesis- the ability
to "say" prerecorded words and
sentences-are crucial to the
smart aspect of these toys.
Together, these technologies
make tovs seem to come alive.
adding speech recogni-
tion and synthesis to toys, many
interrelated factors must be
addressed. First, as always, are
issues of cost The toy business is
ruthlessly cost-competitive.
Because technology costs will be
marked up four- or five-fold by
the time a product gets to the
retail shelves, there's enormous
pressure for manufacturers to
pinch every penny.
Speech solutions that are highly
integrated- that is, chips that
include not only speech algorithms
but also support circuitrysuch as
microphone preamplifiers, ROM,
RAM, ADC, DAC, andspeaker
drivers - reduce tremendously the
eventual consumer price of a toy.
A general-purpose DSPthat costs
less might seemlike a better deal
for providingspeechcapabilities,
but when all the other supporting
components are added to this DSP,
the final cost far exceeds that ofthe
integrated approach.
Accuracy of speech recogni-
tion is key. Speaker-independent
technology, in which the software
recognizes essentially any per-
son's words. makes tovs more
easily out of the box,