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3G phones:Companies concencus about more availabilty :: 09 February, 2007
World giants mobile company STMicroelectronics (ST) and Texas Instruments (TI) & some others have formed alliance to push the handset market to more quickly adopt 3G mobile phone technologies & pointed to the negative influence on margins caused by the swing in the mobile phone market from high end high cost handsets to lower cost products.
NTT DoCoMo, Renesas Technology, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi Electric, Sharp and Sony Ericsson plan to jointly develop a dual-mode 3G handset which will also support current generation GSM/GPRS/EDGE technology.
TI’s CFO, Kevin March, said: “3G sales just are not growing as fast and as I think many of our customers had anticipated. Where we are really seeing a growth is the rate of growth in the low-end market, primarily in the emerging economies, China and India specifically.”
Last month, EW reported that the mobile phone market was not really exciting chip companies. One aspect of this alliance is that it could re-ignite interest in 3G once again.
The aim is to significantly reduce the cost of developing 3G handsets and so drive wider market adoption. The companies hope to break the handset development bottleneck which has limited the introduction of 3G phones. The six companies will jointly develop a new 3G mobile phone design which should be complete by September 2008).
The platform will be based on the SH-Mobile G3 baseband processor which supports HSDPA cat. 82/W-CDMA and GSM/GPRS/EDGE communications. There will also be an applications processor and a complete a reference design integrating audio, power supply, and RF front-end modules.
The platform will also include common software for basic functions, including a sophisticated operating system such as Symbian, device drivers, middleware, and communication software.
NTT DoCoMo and Renesas have already jointly developed the SH-Mobile G1, a first-generation single-chip LSI for dual-mode handsets supporting W-CDMA and GSM/GPRS. The SH-Mobile G1 is now in mass production and handsets built around it first appeared on the market in the fall of 2006.
The second-generation successor, the SH-Mobile G2, and a mobile phone platform integrating core software are currently under development by NTT DoCoMo, Renesas, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi Electric, and Sharp. Handsets employing the G2 are scheduled to appear by the end of the year.
According to the six companies, the aim is to "eliminate the need to develop common handset functions. This will significantly reduce development time and costs, allowing the manufacturers to invest more time and resources in developing distinctive handset features".
Renesas plans to provide the platform to the worldwide W-CDMA market, in addition to customers in Japan, aiming to further reduce costs.
“I am extremely pleased that six companies will be jointly developing a mobile phone platform with the SH-Mobile G3 as its core. We look forward to rolling out this platform in the W-CDMA market worldwide,” said Ikuya Kawasaki, deputy general manager of the systems business at Renesas Technology.