The world is unwiring itself at an astonishing rate. Wireless access points are on the rise worldwide. New modulation schemes are making it possible to do more with less bandwidth. Next-generation wireless networks promising unprecedented data transfer rates are around the corner. With all this high-speed infrastructure being laid, it is only natural to observe that we will use our wireless devices more and more. We will have higher expectations of our devices to be inconspicuously portable and have Olympic endurance.

Manufacturers are quickly realizing that size and run time demands of their portable equipment can not be met by increasing energy density in batteries or even improving power management efficiency—the improvements in these technologies are saturating. To achieve the leap in wireless devices’ functionality and run time, manufacturers are turning to high-efficiency energy management of system functions. Decreasing the amount of energy it takes to complete a function means the battery has more energy left for other processes. This energy management philosophy is being developed for several common wireless functional blocks such as DSP and processor calculations, and the transmitter power amplifier. In particular, innovative ways of efficiently using the processor are becoming prevalent in wireless devices.

Reprinted in its entirety from ARM IQ Vol. 3, No. 1