Intel has developed a series of low-cost memory chips designed to make cell phones less expensive.
Intel developed the chips to cater to the largely untapped market for cell phones in developing countries, where low incomes make most cell phones prohibitively expensive. The company cited a GSM Association estimate that 80 percent of the world’s population does not use a cell phone because the cost is too high.
The NOR flash chips will be offered with capacities ranging from 32 megabits to 256 megabits, Intel said. A 1-gigabit chip is also available for multimedia handsets. The company did not disclose pricing for the chips, which it said are tailored to work with other components designed for low-cost handsets.
The first samples of the chips are now shipping to customers, and volume production using 130-nanometer and 90-nanometer processes will start during the third quarter, Intel said. The size in nanometer refers to the size of the smallest feature that can be created on a chip. Lower numbers indicate a more advanced process, which typically offers the benefit of lower costs, faster performance and lower energy consumption.
Intel is not the only chip maker looking to cut the cost of cell-phone components. Earlier this year, Texas Instruments said reduction in component costs would make feasible the production of a US$20 cell phone. This reduction in costs is largely made possible by integrating components previously found on several chips into a single chip, it said.
-Sumner Lemon, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)
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