Fancy Phones to Clash with Low-Cost PCs

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

New research shows that in India, the future high-volume groups are in two ranges ? the sub-$40 and $60-100 sets

Pragya Singh

Here is something the bottom of India?s mobile user pyramid can cheer about. If 2005 was the year of the cheap PC, 2006 will see the dawn of entry-level smart phones in rural parts.

While the low cost PC can still put you down Rs 10,000 ($200), new intelligent phones in the $45 range will be out by Q4 2006. Vendors making the Silicon chips that will run these phones are now sure that they will give cheap PCs a run for their money.

Qualcomm, the CDMA technology pioneer, is set to introduce its new chip, the QSC 6010, in a fully-loaded range of $40-50 (Rs 2,000 or whereabouts) mobile phones late this calendar year. (…)? As a CDMA giant, Qualcomm?s immediate rivals in India are the GSM players and vendors. But with low cost PCs offering rural buyers their first taste of computing power since early last year, the company is gearing up for even more action.

(…)??There is a flaw in the logic of many vendors that rural users need fewer services on mobile phones and PCs than urban users. We believe in the reverse ? that rural buyers need voice, text, camera, multimedia and sound even more than urban phone owners,?? says Kanwalinder Singh, president of Qualcomm India and SAARC.

At present, India?s benchmark for low-cost phones (with voice and text messaging) is right below $40 ($39). Qualcomm plans to disrupt this by adding MP3 player and camera functionality to the $40-50 phone. For those with $200 to buy a cheap PC, it promises a $60-100 phone by Q1 2007 that will offer high speed data.

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Source: Financial Express (link opens in a new window)