n their unending drive to pack more circuits into a smaller space, semiconductor makers have reached a new milestone: cramming the key parts of a cellphone onto a single chip.
This squeeze play is making mobile phones cheaper and smaller. It suggests that the under-$40 market, now driving the handset industry’s expansion in India and Africa, could prove profitable for cellphone makers as well as appealing to consumers. Cellphone makers see great promise in the developing world, with Nokia Corp. dubbing the opportunity as the “next billion” users.
Executives recently toured Asian cellphone manufacturers with working prototypes of phones that used the chip and just 58 other components packed onto a circuit board about one inch square. By contrast, one of Motorola’s low-priced mobile phones, using the older four main chips, has 245 components.