| Edgar Auslander|
head of strategy planning, ST-Ericsson
PARIS Geneva-based wireless chip joint venture ST-Ericsson was launched amid global financial turmoil and lost $539 million in 2009, its first full year of operation. Yet Edgar Auslander, the company's senior vice president and head of strategic planning, said he is confident the venture will succeed because it "can leverage the heritage of ST, with their consumer expertise in set-top boxes, video and audio, and the expertise of Ericsson in cellular modems," offering complete platforms that play to the convergence of consumer, telecom and computing.
Auslander sat down with EE Times on the eve of Mobile World Congress to outline what ST-Ericsson believes are the main mobile handset trends for 2010 and detail how the company is aligning its business strategy with market opportunities.
EE Times: What are the three biggest changes that will affect the mobile handset market this year and beyond?
Edgar Auslander: I see three main trends driving wireless devices during 2010.
First, there is increased consumer demand for access to services and applications for a rich mobile Internet experience: high-definition content for video, imaging, audio, gaming, etc., and compelling user experiences. So I think we will see more smart devices on the market. The result of this development will be that for more and more people, the mobile phone will be the first and main device from which to access the Internet. And the smart devices are getting even smarter, with easier browsing, easier content and application discovery and acquisition, and more user-friendly interfaces.
Today, phones have more "senses" than [just] "ears" and a "mouth." Today, they have "eyes" in the form of the cameras, as well as GPS to know where they are, and Bluetooth and other connectivity features to connect all sorts of peripherals or accessories and enhanced multimedia capabilities. Mobile devices and applications are therefore more context-aware and more personalized than ever before.
The shift to smart mobile devices and new technologies is accelerating, driving growth for the smartphone segment and also strengthening the ecosystem, putting mobileand the mobile platformmore and more at the center of the convergence of the consumer, telecom and computing industries. The industry convergence that [has been anticipated] for a long time is becoming a reality.
Second, high-speed mobile broadband is now pervasive, with wireless connectivity extending beyond phones to a collection of connected devicessuch as laptops, tablets, personal navigation devices, portable media players and so oncapable of high speeds, from 21 Mbits/second up to 100 Mbits/s, with LTE, in the coming years.
Third, low-cost and entry-level devices and are becoming cheaper, while getting more and more sophisticated. The high end of today is the low end of tomorrow; the focus will continue to lie in cost and power, with Internet access and smartphone capabilities getting introduced to [the low-end] category across different access technologies.