sandy hook short

Mass production, expansion to international, and high end products


The 9515 was the last Frequency hopping telephone produced by the company, used a GaAs transmitter chip to produce approximately 1 watt of RF power, and achieved a range of 1 mile in ideal conditions.It used an IC device designed by our team.

After spending two years architecting what may have been the first cell phone with DSP, which used a DSP group (later CEVA) DSP processor, I was promoted to manager in the cordless group. I would soon take over the low end products, international products, and the mechanical design group. Later, I would take over the high end products.

The international product line was based on the belief that we could penetrate european markets. We successfully introduced a couple of models in the netherlands, and spain. We knew this was a loss leader, and eventually we stopped the effort and focused on other more lucrative refresh of the US product line.

The most advanced phone was a 900 MHZ frequency hopping cordless which operated in the unlicensed ISM band. The phone was capable of one mile clear line of sight, and we demonstrated a seven mile demo in Las Vegas, NV. I inherited the program when it was named Dragon. The model was oversized, contained four or five circuit boards, and the industrial design was keyed on the word industrial. The marketing team had a keen understanding of what could and could not sell, their ears were well tuned to the retailers and their customers, and Dragon was a no-go.

My goal: salvage the program, and create a one or two board design which would be more cost effective; take the chip design team and integrate some of the patches and fixes to the original chipset, and fix the industrial design. Proposals ensued, named Raptor, and Sisyphus. while we would restart these program every couple of months, none would see the light of day. The design which was adopted was sort of a flip phone. "Range without portability is senseless", was the direction we took to complement the cellular phone product line which the company was building up. We endeavored to build a two board design handset, with many advanced features. These features included innovative plastics design which allowed three way cradling, and patentable antenna concepts, as well as patents in the battery charging circuits arena. In addition to the advanced frequency hopping technology and one watt RF transmitter, other electronics were novel with adaptive echo cancellation in the base unit.

We built our own IC effort for this device, the integrated circuits were made in a foundry but the core functional design was conceived in our own team. All the RF link control and frequency hopping algorithms, the transmitter and receiver digital circuits, were internally designer.

We built two generations of such phones for manufacture and sale,

The business phone unit of lucent, which would later become avaya, successfully used our chips in their products. They produced a few tens of thousands a year, and our chips were meeting all their performance requirements.



9500 The 9510 was the predecessor to the 9515. This device had the same features but but showed a larger size and a LCD display. The price was still high for any volume production. about 50,000 per year were planned.It was the first device marketed successfully for deployment. A chip redesign under my team allowed the 9510 to be mass produced.

A One mile open range was a strong value proposition for this unit

At the same time, Rockwell Semiconductor, which would later become conexant, proposed their own chipset based on direct sequence spread spectrum.Our chip sets were cost effective. and it was clear that our technology could be extremely successful and actually compete with Rockwell.

We partnered with our semiconductor vendor to make the chips widely available to competitors so that we could retain economies of scale and derive IP revenue. We also found diversification in applications. An industrial radio link company was very interested in licensing the technology. Unfortunately, this was not to be. Concerns about interference into the PBX units from other business applications would stop the deal. We were never allowed to spread the technology to the external partners.

The showcase technology, in the end, allowed sell through of the rest of the product line. Some of the patents would be used by another business to negotiate participation in the Bluetooth consortium.