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What A Single Chip Phone Means

February 8th, 2005 · No Comments

Dana Blankenhorn writes about Texas Instruments’ recent announcement:

What does it mean for TI to make, and Nokia to sell, a complete cellular phone on a single chip? For one thing, it means phones can be one-chip cheap.

Right, cheap as chips.

One chip cheap is important when you think of how little money most people on this world actually have. Imagine if we could hear the voices of Darfur’s victims, for instance. What if they could actually talk to Larry King, live, and describe in detail the hell their lives have become.

What if everyone, no matter their economic circumstance, were within easy reach of the world’s markets, for whatever they had, and whatever they needed?

We’re about to find out.

But there’s something else involved here. When cellular telephony is reduced to a simple chip, it can become an ingredient in anything else.

For instance. Let’s say you have a golf course. You use a lot of water, but you waste a lot, too. Now, throw some moisture sensors out there and link them via one-chip cellular. The bandwidth needs are modest — the sensor says “water me” or “turn off the water” as needed. Your hardware costs just dropped to the floor, and the system probably pays for itself on just a few months’ water bills.

Anything that needs to be monitored, over a long distance, can now be monitored, and results transmitted, over a cellular link, because remember (in most cities) cellular is ubiquitous.

Imagine what this can do for farmers? They can monitor conditions in their fields in real-time, addressing concerns immediately.

Or consider a chemical manufacturing plant, which can now run safely, and under much finer adjustment, saving untolds amount of energy, using an Always-On application which is literally cheap as chips.

Vast new industrial markets are opened up by this announcement, markets which have yet be tapped.

All you have to do to tap them is think — cellular is a low bandwidth, high distance Always-On interface.

Tags: Telecom

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