SHANGHAI, China Mobile handset maker Amoi is among the first Chinese companies to leverage silicon for low cost phones, saying it will use a recently introduced chipset from Agere Systems that includes MP3 playback to bring its bill of materials cost down to around $30.
Agere introduced its low-cost MP3 chip platform Sept. 25. The X125 platform supports stereo audio playback at decode rates up to about 300 kbits/second, enough for even the most muscular music-compression algorithms. It is designed for EDGE networks, where 180- to 230-kbit/s download rates are suitable for music streaming. A GPRS version is expected in about a month.
Although the chip with a $30 bill of materials can support a VGA camera, Amoi will opt only for MP3 playback, said Daling Zhou, manager of Amoi's R&D department. The company did not say when the phone would hit the domestic market or what the retail price would be.
The market for low-cost handsets is expected to grow quickly over the next three to four years, as more than two-thirds of new subscribers come from developing countries. Market watcher iSuppli Corp. estimates that low-cost handsets, lumped in with entry-level devices, will account for 35 percent of the market in 2006, or about 308 million units