Infineon Launches World's First Reference Design for Ultra Low-Cost Handsets Enabling Handsets with Production Cost Below US $20

Jul 13, 2005 | Technology Media

Munich, Germany - July 13, 2005 - Infineon Technologies AG (FSE/NYSE: IFX) today announced sample availability of its first reference design for ultra-low-cost handsets. Using Infineon’s new ULC reference platform, which is based on a single-chip GSM solution, costs for GSM handsets with SMS functionality could be set to be reduced by nearly one half in the near future, from the current figure of around US $35 to below US $20. These costs cover the entire mobile phone, including all electronic components, printed-circuit-board, connectors, casing with keypad and display, all software components, rechargeable batteries, charger, packaging and documentation.

Infineon’s ULC reference platform provides all the electronic hardware and software components needed in dual-band handsets complying with the GSM900/1800 and GSM850/1900 standards. It includes a single-chip GSM radio/baseband, other RF components, power supply, memory, operating system, hardware drivers, GSM protocol stack and a reference MMI (Man Machine Interface) for simple and intuitive use of SMS and telephone functionalities. Volume production is expected to start in the first quarter of 2006, which means that ultra-low-cost handsets could be in the shops a few months later.

Strong growth in global demand for ultra low-cost handsets


Worldwide, there are currently about 1.8 billion mobile phone users. The demand for low-cost and easy-to-operate handsets with SMS functionality is increasing. Many people want to enjoy the benefits of mobile communications, but place little value on applications such as camera and video features, web browser, music player and games. Ultra low-cost handsets target at these mainstream and new mobile phone users.

“There are around 3.5 billion people living in areas with mobile phone coverage who cannot afford their own handset,” said Ameet Shah, Chief of Strategy for Emerging Markets Handsets at the GSM Association. “Ultra low-cost handsets are a key initiative to extend the benefits of communications to more of the world’s population.”

The US market-research company Strategy Analytics expects that more than 150 million ultra low-cost handsets, costing less than US $50 wholesale, will be sold throughout the world in 2010.

Below 100 components on board: Infineon’s ULC is the world’s most highly integrated GSM platform


At present, a simple GSM mobile phone with SMS functionality needs around 150 to approximately 200 electronic components. With Infineon’s new platform the number is reduced to below 100, housed in an area of just 3cm x 3cm - only about a third of the area used today.

Infineon’s highly integrated reference platform makes it possible to use low-cost processes when manufacturing mobile phones. For example, components are placed on only one side of the board, the time taken to carry out calibration tests is reduced from 60 seconds to just 1 second, and component logistics are simplified.

The platform’s power consumption has been optimized so that cheap rechargeable batteries - such as nickel metal hydride (NiMH) AAA micro-cells - can be used to power the ultra low-cost phone. With standard rechargeable mobile phone batteries, Infineon estimates a standby time of more than ten days and talk-time of more than four hours.

Infineon’s platform design for ultra-low-cost handsets supports black & white and color displays, together with different voice codecs such as Enhanced Full Rate (EFR), Full Rate (FR), Half Rate (HR), and Adaptive Multi-Rate (AMR). Network operators can therefore manage voice quality and subscriber capacity flexibly and efficiently in line with how much the network is being used - which reduces the network operator’s subscriber costs.

An extremely compact and cost-efficient solution for a complete GSM system is the core element of the platform. The solution consists of the E-GOLDradio (PMB 7870) together with the E-Powerlite power-management component (PMB 6814). The E-GOLDradio, a monolithic GSM single-chip, combines a quad-band RF transceiver and a baseband processor. It enables the baseband and RF functionality to be realized on a board space which is about 30 percent less than the area previously occupied by two-chip solutions. This is because external components such as capacitors and discrete components are not needed for communication between RF and baseband logic within a mobile phone. E-Powerlite provides all necessary power supply to the processor and the entire mobile phone system including electromechanical audio components, display and keypad illumination, as well as the SIM card and regulates the use and charging of Lithium Ion and NiMH batteries.

Information on Infineon’s platforms and chips for mobile communications are available at: www.infineon.com/wireless

About Infineon

Infineon Technologies AG, Munich, Germany, offers semiconductor and system solutions for automotive, industrial and multimarket sectors, for applications in communication, as well as memory products. With a global presence, Infineon operates through its subsidiaries in the US from San Jose, CA, in the Asia-Pacific region from Singapore and in Japan from Tokyo. In fiscal year 2004 (ending September), the company achieved sales of Euro 7.19 billion with about 35,600 employees worldwide. Infineon is listed on the DAX index of the Frankfurt Stock Exchange and on the New York Stock Exchange (ticker symbol: IFX). Further information is available at www.infineon.com.

Information Number

INFCOM200507.068

Press Photos

  • With Infineon's ULC mobile phone platform the number of electronic components needed in a GSM mobile phone with SMS functionality is reduced to below 100, from around 150 to approximately 200 today.
    With Infineon's ULC mobile phone platform the number of electronic components needed in a GSM mobile phone with SMS functionality is reduced to below 100, from around 150 to approximately 200 today.
    ULC old platform

    JPG | 997 kb | 2126 x 1535 px

    ULC old platform

    JPG | 26 kb | 222 x 160 px

  • Today's simple GSM mobile phone with SMS functionality needs around 150 to approximately 200 electronic components.
    Today's simple GSM mobile phone with SMS functionality needs around 150 to approximately 200 electronic components.
    Old platform standalone

    JPG | 241 kb | 911 x 1215 px

    Old platform standalone

    JPG | 16 kb | 120 x 160 px

  • With Infineon's ULC mobile phone platform the number of electronic components is reduced to below 100, from around 150 to approximately 200.
    With Infineon's ULC mobile phone platform the number of electronic components is reduced to below 100, from around 150 to approximately 200.
    ULC standalone

    JPG | 172 kb | 911 x 1215 px

    ULC standalone

    JPG | 13 kb | 120 x 160 px