Mobile chipmaker ST-Ericsson has launched silicon that it claims could enable device manufacturers to produce smartphones with a wholesale price of less than EUR100. The U6715 platform supports Android and other Linux-based operating systems and includes an HSPA modem capable of delivering theoretical peak downlink data speeds of up to 7.2 Mb/s. ST-Ericsson believes manufacturers will launch the first commercial products based on the U6715 platform in the first half of 2010. “There is a huge surge in consumer demand for handsets that can be customised with downloadable apps, but, up to now, smartphones have been too expensive for many potential buyers,” said Marc Cetto, senior VP and head of 3G and multimedia at ST-Ericsson. “Our U6715 platform has been designed to enable the smartphone to break out of its current high-end niche and become a true mass-market product in 2010.”
Established in February 2009 as a joint venture of STMicroelectronics and Ericsson, the company has already become the second-largest maker of wireless chips after Qualcomm. Although currently undergoing restructuring as it strives to breakeven, it claims to supply most of the world’s top handset manufacturers. It has enjoyed success in China.