Trend:Emerging markets don't want cheap handsets

According to Texas Instruments, cheap handsets aimed at emerging markets could sell for less than $15 by 2008, but no one will want to buy them. TI believes the limited capabilities incumbent on an ultra-cheap phone, such as an inability to store phone numbers, will make them unpalatable across the board. The company believes consumers will opt to spend a little more for basic functions like storage capacity, color displays and other functions. Motorola recently won a contract from the GSMA to provide sub-$30 handsets to developing countries. An estimated 80 percent of the world's population could potentially use a mobile phone because they live in an area that gets coverage, however, only 20 percent of these people actually subscribe to a wireless service.

At the beginning of the year, TI announced it had developed a single chip that does the work previously handled by several chips. The chip combines digital baseband, static RAM, logic, radio frequency, power management and analog functions. A handset using the chip would be drastically smaller and could potentially sell for under $15.

For more on TI's claim that cheap handsets won't sell:
- see this piece from InfoWorld