Mobile electronics firm ST-Ericsson has developed a Linux-based chip platform that could cut the wholesale price of smartphones to less than €100.
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ST-Ericsson said the first phones based on its U6715 platform will hit the market in the first half of 2010, making smartphones a mass market product.
Designed to run Linux-based operating systems, such as Android, the U6715 platform supports navigation, web browsing, video streaming, e-mail, Wi-Fi, a five-megapixel camera, a touch-screen, and more.
A multimedia engine integrated into the hardware architecture of the U6715 frees most of the platform's microprocessor subsystem to run applications.
The U6715 includes an HSPA modem capable of delivering downlink speeds of up to 7.2Mbps and a 1000mA battery. This gives it music playtime of up to 40 hours, talk time of up to seven hours on a 3G network, and standby time of up to 25 days.
Marc Cetto, head of ST-Ericsson's 3G and multimedia division, said the U6715 platform was designed to enable the smartphone to break out of its current high-end niche and become a true mass-market product in 2010.
Market leader Nokia said 52 million of the 329 million mobile phones sold last year were smartphones, up 12% on 2008.
Market researcher Canalys said touch-screen smartphones now represented 55% of the smartphone market.