Metamaterials Arrive in Cellphones

LG Chocolate BL40 is first cellphone to use a metamaterials antenna

3 min read
Metamaterials Arrive in Cellphones

28 October 2009—The quest to build more-powerful multiband mobile handsets has gotten a boost from a relatively new class of materials. Called metamaterials, they are specifically engineered to have properties that do not occur naturally, such as the ability to bend light the wrong way. For manufacturers of mobile devices, recent advances in metamaterials promise a way to shrink size while still retaining multiband functionality.

LG Electronics’ new Chocolate BL40 mobile handset, from its high-end Black Label Series, will incorporate a metamaterial antenna made by San Diego–based Rayspan, a start-up that’s pioneering the commercialization of metamaterials. LG is the first company to use metamaterials in mobile handsets. Metamaterials have allowed LG to "achieve the dramatically sleek, slim dimensions of the new LG Chocolate and unsurpassed radio-frequency capabilities," says Woo Paik, LG’s president and chief technology officer.

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The Cellular Industry’s Clash Over the Movement to Remake Networks

The wireless industry is divided on Open RAN’s goal to make network components interoperable

13 min read
Photo: George Frey/AFP/Getty Images

We've all been told that 5G wireless is going to deliver amazing capabilities and services. But it won't come cheap. When all is said and done, 5G will cost almost US $1 trillion to deploy over the next half decade. That enormous expense will be borne mostly by network operators, companies like AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, and dozens more around the world that provide cellular service to their customers. Facing such an immense cost, these operators asked a very reasonable question: How can we make this cheaper and more flexible?

Their answer: Make it possible to mix and match network components from different companies, with the goal of fostering more competition and driving down prices. At the same time, they sparked a schism within the industry over how wireless networks should be built. Their opponents—and sometimes begrudging partners—are the handful of telecom-equipment vendors capable of providing the hardware the network operators have been buying and deploying for years.

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