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Cypress unveils USB 3.0 chip for handheld devices

Jul 5, 2011 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Cypress Semiconductor announced what it says is the first USB 3.0 solution for smartphone and other handheld devices. The West Bridge Benicia (CYB0263) offers 5Gbps data transfers and faster battery charging, while both it and the USB 2.0-only West Bridge Bay (CYWB0163) include a “data transfer offload engine” and an ARM9 core for audio processing, the company says.

First unveiled in November 2008, USB 3.0 has only recently started to be available in a significant number of desktop and notebook computers. Adoption has lagged because Intel hasn't yet supported the spec — it won't do so until next year's release of "Panther Point" Core processors and associated chipsets — and, perhaps, because most customers see no reason for its 5Gbps speed.

It's easy to see, then, why silicon vendors haven't been pushing USB 3.0 chipsets for smartphones or other handheld computers. These devices spend little or no time being connected to external hard disk drives, Blu-ray readers, or other peripherals that would take advantage of USB 3.0's bandwidth.

Cypress, however, says that inclusion of USB 3.0 in a handheld will allow consumers to "sideload" multimedia content at up to 200MB per second. And even if customers don't care about speed, they'll also find that USB 3.0 offers better power management and allows batteries to be charged in half the time of USB 2.0, the company adds.

According to Cypress, its West Bridge Benicia (CYB0263) USB 3.0 controller (pictured) further includes "a highly optimized data transfer offload engine that enables mobile devices to double their IOPS (input/output operations per second) throughput." Second-generation SLIM (simultaneous link to independent multimedia) architecture provides multiple, non-blocking paths between peripherals, memory, and a device's application processor, the company says.

Cypress claims its technology can significantly boost the performance of a device during boot, page loading, switching between apps, and other tasks that require frequent memory access. The CYB0263 additionally offers a configurable ARM9 core that may be utilized as a low-power audio coprocessor, the company added, though no further details were provided.

Customers who, despite all the above, still aren't interested in USB 3.0 don't need to feel left out. Cypress is also offering the West Bridge Bay (CYWB0163), an alternative chip that instead supports USB 2.0 and On-The-Go.

According to the company, the CYWB0163 includes the same SLIM architecture and ARM9 core as the CYB0263. Other carry-over features include SD 3.0 and e-MMC4.4x support, plus an "EZ-Dtect" feature that "provides charger and accessory detection without the need for any external power management device."

Dinesh Ramanathan, executive vice president of Cypress's data communications division, stated, "As the world leader in USB, we are pleased to be the first to bring USB 3.0 performance to the mobile landscape. We're already working with multiple top-tier phone and tablet manufacturers who have shown keen interest in this solution."


According to Cypress, the CYWB0263 and CYWB0163 are sampling now to lead customers, and are expected to reach full production by September. Further information may be found on the CYWB0263 product page and the CYWB0163 product page.

Jonathan Angel can be reached at [email protected] and followed at

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