Bangalore: NXP Semiconductors, a chip maker spun off from European electronics major Philips NV, on Friday said it was working with mobile operator Reliance Communications Ltd to build a colour-screen phone with features such as FM radio and MP3 player that would retail at less than Rs800.
NXP owns a single-chip solution—which it got from its acquisition of the cellular business of Silicon Labs—that consumes less power, allowing the phone to be used for up to 100 hours on a single battery charge and enabling makers of so-called GSM and GPRS phones to incorporate radio and music playback features.
Frans van Houten, president and chief executive of NXP Semiconductors, said the company was working with other Indian operators as well. He did not say how long it would take for the low-cost colour handsets to hit the market, nor did he reveal if the NXP-designed phone would be for GSM networks or the rival CDMA ones. Gaurav Wahi, a spokesman for Reliance Communications, which runs both CDMA networks and, through an affiliate, GSM services, declined to comment.
“The price factor alone is not sufficient. The handset should combine cost-effectiveness, media and battery life for the consumer to use it,” van Houten said.
The Anil Ambani-run company on Monday launched colour CDMA handsets at Rs1,234—targeted at customers using a cellular phone for the first time—after it sold over one million handsets of monochrome-screen models starting at Rs777. It did not disclose the manufacturer of the phones. Rival Tata Teleservices Ltd, has phones with FM radio priced at Rs1,799.
India is the fastest-growing market for mobile phones, with a subscriber-base of more than 170 million.
NXP’s India operation, based in Bangalore, has 815 employees working on technologies such as mobile phones, digital television, multimedia and radio frequency identification or RFID.
The €5 billion (Rs27,500 crore) company is also designing a chip for a high-end mobile phone for an advanced ‘3.5-generation’ standard that will support data speed of up to 7.2 Mbps per second on mobile phones, van Houten said.
NXP is eyeing the country as a potentially big market after it grew its revenues in the country at 68% last year.