Cheap phones bring chip opportunities

There are 2 different markets for the handsets: feature-rich 3G phones and ultra low-cost (ULC) phones. The former is predominantly the developed countries and the developing countries form the latter.

According to ABI Research, “The developed markets’ high saturation rates mean that over 80 percent of new mobile phone subscribers in the next five years will come from emerging markets.”

These ULC handsets have changed the dynamics of business.

Using commoditized technology (read “multiple providers”), has given handset makers a wide array of vendors to choose from e.g. Nokia has moved from relying exclusively on TI for baseband chips to partnerships with STMicro, Broadcom and Infineon – thus providing it design flexibility as well as price negotiating power.

A fine example of a low cost phone is Tianyu 8811 which has achieved low costs by using proven, mature technology and adopting a minimalist approach. For a tear down on this product, I suggest to read Jeff Brown’s article 

The recently unveiled $2500 car (named Nano) from India’s Tata is a prime example of achieving low costs with minimalist approach

As cited by C. K. Prahalad, professor of corporate strategy at the University of Michigan Business School, a huge market awaits at The Bottom of the Pyramid.  

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