NXP Semiconductor and Purple Labs have announced a reference design aimed at enabling the manufacture of 3G Linux feature phones that could be sold to mobile operators at under $100. Touted features of the “Purple Magic” phone include video telephony, music playback, high-speed Internet browsing, and video streaming.
The low-cost design primarily targets markets in Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America, where low-cost cellphones are expected to sell in extremely high volumes, according to the companies.
“The viability of 3G services in emerging markets requires large volumes of affordable data-capable devices,” NXP and Purple Labs said in a statement. The companies site a data from the Global mobile Suppliers Association (GSA) indicating that although there are currently 197 commercial 3G/WCDMA networks in 87 countries, “the adoption of 3G services is concentrated in mature European and Asian markets.”
According to Purple Labs CEO Simon Wilkinson, during the recent holiday season mobile operators purchased entry-level 3G phones at prices ranging from $120 to $145. “Leveraging our Linux technology, the Purple Magic design now enables manufacturers to deliver compelling 3G products at a transfer price below $100,” Wilkinson claims.
The phone design is based on an NXP Nexperia Cellular System Solution 7210 3G phone chipset (PDF download), along with Purple Labs’s 3G feature phone Linux suite (PDF download), and is available as a “fully integrated, turnkey solution.” NXP’s 3G and 3.5G multimedia phone platform silicon is based on a single ARM926 processor core and is said to offer “true UMTS performance.”
Purple Labs claims to have produced a number of “fully working” Purple Magic phones that have already undergone “considerable testing and validation.” The phones will be demonstrated at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on Feb. 11-14.