I learned a new term the other dayULCH, which is an acronym for Ultra Low Cost Handsets. These are the handsets with a bill-of-materials that's below $20, and targeted for places like China, Africa, and India. Note that in a future column I'll argue whether there's really a need for ULCH handsets in these markets.
Nevertheless, Philips has formed a partnership with Haier, one of China's top handset makers. The companies claim that there's a potential market of about 1.5 billion customers for such a product. In addition to the so-called "under developed" countries, there's a potential market in both the U.S. and Europe if you consider the elderly and youth populations, or other consumers who don’t need the latest and greatest expensive phones, but rather something dependable and simple.
The reference platform chosen by Haier contains Philips' Nexperia cellular system solution 5128. The end result is the HG-Z1000 handset. By employing this platform, Haier got the low-cost handset to market in just four months. Features of the "featureless" handset include 16 soft midi ring tones, a vibrating alert, SMS capability, and a clock, alarm, and calculator. In addition, the handset provides 280 hours of standby time and three hours of talk time.
You can find more information at www.semiconductors.philips.com or www.haier.com.