Agilent Increases Mobile Phone Battery Life with Ambient Light Sensor

1/27/2004 - Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A) introduced an ambient light photo sensor that increases mobile phone battery life by eliminating unnecessary backlighting at half the cost and size of its predecessor device. In addition to mobile phones, Agilent's ambient light photo sensors are an ideal power savings solution for PDAs, notebook PCs, portable DVD players, MP3 players, camcorders and digital cameras.

Agilent's innovative ambient light photo sensors emulate the human eye in detecting the amount of ambient light, then signal the mobile phone to turn on its display's backlight and keypad light if necessary. This feature saves battery power, an increasingly important issue as popular LCD color displays consume much more power than monochrome LCDs.

Compared with Agilent's first-generation HSDL-9000 digital-output ambient light sensor, which is supplied in a six-pin plastic lead chip carrier, the new analog-output HSDL-9001 is half the size at 0.6 mm x 2.0 mm x 1.5 mm. It is supplied in a quad-flat no-lead surface mount package. The HSDL-9001, which contains no analog to digital circuitry, provides greater design flexibility by allowing the signal processing and digitization to be implemented through other means, such as the host processor.

"The lower cost and significantly smaller HSDL-9001 ambient light photo sensor addresses price- and size-sensitive mobile applications," said Kee Hane Ngoh, vice president and general manager of Agilent's Infrared Products Division. "The significant power savings enabled by our innovative ambient light sensor increases the battery life of handheld devices and battery-operated consumer appliances."

Agilent's ambient light sensors outperform silicon photodiode light detection solutions because their spectral response peaks at the same wavelength (550 nm) as the human eye. The sensors perform equally well with light sources ranging from natural sunlight to fluorescent, conventional incandescent and halogen lamps. They also offer significantly faster response to changes in illumination than phototransistors.

The Agilent HSDL-9001 analog-output light sensor detects the ambient light level and provides a highly linear proportional output that is used to adjust the backlighting of an LCD display screen or keypad. If there is sufficient ambient light, designer-provided logic can turn off the backlighting. Because backlighting is only necessary about 40 percent of the time(1), the ambient light sensor reduces battery recharges or replacements in portable devices.

Because the HSDL-9001 is an analog device, it permits infinite control of the light detection threshold. It features guaranteed performance over the 2.7 V to 3.6 V supply voltage range and the -25 C to +85 C temperature range.

U.S. Pricing and Availability
The HSDL-9001 is available now from Agilent and its authorized worldwide distribution partners. It is priced at less than $0.36 each in 25,000-unit quantities. More information is available at

Agilent's Mobile Appliance Solutions
Agilent is a leading supplier of semiconductor solutions for today's highly integrated, feature-rich mobile handsets. In addition to ambient light photo sensors that save battery life by controlling backlighting, Agilent provides CMOS imaging solutions that enable camera phones, RF components that help shrink handset size and save battery life, surface mount LEDs that provide backlighting styling options, and infrared transceivers for transmitting data. No other component vendor offers all of these solutions for mobile appliances.

About Agilent Technologies
Agilent Technologies Inc. (NYSE: A) is a global technology leader in communications, electronics, life sciences and chemical analysis. The company's 29,000 employees serve customers in more than 110 countries. Agilent had net revenue of $6.1 billion in fiscal year 2003. Information about Agilent is available on the Web at

(1) Based on Agilent estimates.

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