Texas Instruments (TI), the world’s largest maker of chips for mobile phones, Thursday announced a new chip for mobile handsets designed to reduce the costs of cell phones and make mobile communications more available to users in developing countries.
Speaking in Beijing, TI Chief Executive Officer Richard Templeton said entry-level phones serve as both data and voice devices for rural communities in developing countries. “For these people, most likely the first time they connect to the Internet will be through a mobile handset,” he said, adding that phones must therefore become more affordable.
The new OMAPV1035 chip expands TI’s existing line of chips for low-cost handsets. It will be manufactured using a 65-nanometer process and will support Global System for Mobile Communications (GSM), General Packet Radio Service, and Enhanced Data rates for GSM Evolution cellular standards, the company said.
Unlike its predecessor, the OMAPV1030, the new chip combines the analog radio frequency processor with the digital baseband and application processors on a single chip. As these components were previously on separate chips, the OMAPV1035 will allow phone makers to produce slimmer handsets that consume less power, TI said.
The new chip is part of a move by TI and other mobile handset and handset component manufacturers to drive down handset costs, making them more affordable for users in developing countries. In September 2005, the GSM Association set a goal for the industry to create handsets with a wholesale price under US$30. Motorola’s C113 and C113a were the first two models to hit the price target.
Because the chipset is one of a mobile handset’s most expensive components, creating low-cost chips is critical to the success of any effort to make phones more affordable.
Templeton said low-cost handsets are aimed especially at large developing markets, including Brazil, Russia, India and China. “China is the fastest-growing market for low-cost handsets,” he said.
-Steven Schwankert, IDG News Service (Beijing Bureau)
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