Qualcomm unveiled several chips designed to underpin inexpensive cell phones with MP3 players and cameras, pitched at emerging handset markets in Latin America, India and China.
The three new processors–the 6010, 6020 and 6030–are the first in Qualcomm’s line of single-chip products. Each contains everything–the modem, radio transceiver, power management, multimedia engine and security features–it takes to make a basic cell phone. Single-chip cell phones, in theory, reduce handset makers’ costs, which translates to lower-priced phones for markets where cell phone penetration is very low.
The lineup is a sign of how single-chip design is becoming more attractive to handset makers. Texas Instruments, a major provider of mobile processors, has already announced it has developed a single chip for cell phones, while No. 1 handset maker Nokia has one in development.
Disharmony on your cell phone
Qualcomm’s new chips should enable manufacturers to create a less-expensive version of phones using its CDMA 1X standard. (Two years ago, the technology was the power behind state-of-the-art phones, but those handsets have since been supplanted by faster and more processing-heavy models.) The newly released 6020 chips, for instance, support MP3 players, and the 6030 can handle both a camera and a music player.