MWC: ST-Ericsson Launches Low-Cost Android Platform

Geneva-based joint venture ST-Ericsson will promise smartphones for all with a low-cost Android-ready Linux phone platform at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona

A new mobile platform, designed to run Linux-based operating systems such as Android, has been developed by ST-Ericsson, which it claims will allow manufacturers to produce smartphones with a wholesale price of less than €100 (£88).

The U6715 platform can support smartphone functions including navigation, web browsing, video streaming, email, Wi-Fi, a five megapixel camera and a touchscreen. It also includes an HSPA modem, capable of delivering downlink speeds of up to 7.2 Mbps, and a 1000mA battery, providing 40 hours of music playback and seven hours of talk time on a 3G network.

Geneva-based joint venture ST-Ericsson expects the first commercial products based on the U6715 platform to be launched in the first half of 2010, in order to meet the growing demand for compact and low-cost smartphones.

“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 Vice President and head of the 3G and multimedia division 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.”

As the mobile industry prepares to gather in Barcelona for Mobile World Congress next week, there is no sign of a slowdown in user demand for smartphones. A recent study by Strategy Analytics found that the 53 million smartphones were shipped globally in the fourth quarter, representing a growth of 30 percent. 

Nokia, BlackBerry maker RIM, and Apple all recorded strong growth during the period, with sales being driven by stronger consumer demand and a stream of attractive new 3G models tempting buyers into retail stores.

“The smartphone market will become ultra competitive in 2010,” said Neil Mawston, director of Strategy Analytics, commenting on the report. “Samsung and LG have ambitious plans to grow volumes and expand their app stores, while emerging players like Dell and Huawei are strengthening their device portfolios and courting major operators. The smartphone wars will be good news for consumers, but the fierce competition will inevitably place downward pressure on vendors’ pricing and margins.”

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