TI works with Chinese firm on low-cost 2.5G handsets

IDG News Service |  Mobile & Wireless

Texas Instruments Inc. (TI), the world's largest maker of chips for mobile phones, worked with a Chinese handset maker to produce a low-cost 2.5G mobile phone aimed at emerging markets like China and Latin America, the companies said Wednesday.

The handsets are already shipping in volume to customers, TI and TCL Communication Technology Holdings Ltd. said in a joint statement.

At a projected retail price of about US$40, the 2.5G mobile phone might not seem cheap to users in developed countries, where promotions can slash handset costs. In Taiwan, Chunghwa Telecom recently offered a 3G (third generation) handset to new subscribers for just NT$1 (US$0.34). But operators such as Chunghwa still pay full price for the handsets and then offer them at a discount to subscribers, expecting to make back the cost of the handset and more as the user pays for services.

In emerging markets, affordable handsets are more important because users normally don't see such promotions.

TCL, one of China's largest mobile phone makers, designed the low cost 2.5G handset, dubbed the OT-E157, as the first of a series of handsets aimed at low cost markets. TCL worked closely with TI to speed up the design process, TCL said in a statement.

The handset, designed mainly for talking, will include messaging functions, polyphonic ring tones, an alarm clock and some games. The OT-E157 uses a chipset made by TI. TCL also plans to use a single chip created by TI for even cheaper mobile phones, but the Chinese company did not say when the lower cost handsets might be available.

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