New subscriber rates are experiencing meteoric growth in emerging markets worldwide, with demand for affordable handsets continuing to rise. Addressing this phenomenon at a press conference at 3GSM World Congress, Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) (NYSE:TXN) announced its third generation GSM solution for the ultra low-cost handset market, specifically designed to enhance the user experience with added features and improvements. This includes dramatic improvements in voice clarity and loudness; battery life; and support for a range of advanced features, including enhanced color display, FM stereo, MP3 ring tones, camera, and MP3 playback. The “LoCosto ULC” single-chip platform will reduce electronic bill of materials (e-BOM) by up to 25 percent compared to the current generation.
The “LoCosto ULC” single-chip platform is an extension of TI’s successful “LoCosto” family of solutions, which is in volume production today. “LoCosto ULC” represents the latest advancement in TI’s sophisticated and integrated DRP(TM) single-chip technology, a pioneering approach to wireless chip design that defined the single-chip approach by integrating the RF transceiver and analog codec with the digital baseband. This technology has significantly reduced board space and system costs and has extended battery life. TI’s new “LoCosto ULC” products, the TCS2305 and TCS2315, are the industry’s first 65-nanometer (nm) single-chip mobile phone products for GSM and GPRS handsets and will sample in the first half of 2007.
“As high-growth emerging economies add subscribers, these consumers have made it clear they desire more than basic mobile phones,” said Alain Mutricy, TI’s Vice President and General Manager of Cellular Systems Solutions for its Wireless Terminals Business Unit, during today’s press conference. “TI continues to change the playing field with ‘LoCosto,’ adding features consumers now want on sleek ultra low-cost handsets. We are achieving this through continued system integration and cost reduction with our DRP single-chip technology and by moving the ‘LoCosto’ platform to 65-nanometer.”
Compared to the current “LoCosto” generation, the TCS2305 and TCS2315 solutions will enable 60 percent longer stand-by time and 30 percent longer talk time, significantly improving handset battery life – a critical requirement in rural areas where access to power infrastructure may be limited. The solutions will also offer a 2X improvement in voice loudness and will include full duplex voice call support to mitigate voice chopping, both of which are necessary in noisy environments. Additionally, “LoCosto ULC” will offer full color display with no external SRAM and will support more advanced, cooler features for a unique user experience, including MP3 ring tones and MP3 playback; FM stereo; camera; USB charging for universal and easy charger access; slimmer, more stylish form factors; and handset security through TI’s M-Shield(TM) advanced hardware and software security framework for robust protection of copyrighted content for publishers and operator investments of value-added services.
TI’s “LoCosto” single-chip platform has been well-received by customers, and represents the sharpest launch of any new product TI has introduced in its wireless history. TI is well-positioned to continue its strong ramp with 15 current “LoCosto” customers, more than 10 million units shipped to date in 12 handset models, and more than 50 handset designs expected to be in production in 2007. The introduction of the “LoCosto ULC” single-chip platform builds on the success of TI’s first generation and second generation ULC products, the TCS2300 chipset and “LoCosto,” which are in handsets chosen by the GSM Association for its Emerging Market Handset initiative. The new “LoCosto ULC” products will feed the next stage of growth for the ULC market, which is expected to reach more than 330 million units by 2011 (source: ABI Research, January 2007).
“LoCosto ULC” products will sample in the first half of 2007 and are expected to be in volume production in 2008.