Wednesday, February 20, 2008

3G 'dual-mode' phones are on the way

As the dual-mode handset (DMH) market continues its explosive growth, the focus for devices in 2008 has started to shift. With nearly 20 UMA-based dual mode 2G phones, there’s now solid demand for UMA-based 3G devices.

One of the most exciting announcements at the Mobile World Congress this year was platform support for UMA-enabled 3G/2G/Wi-Fi handsets. I guess we can’t call them ‘dual-mode’, perhaps we’re going to have to move to ‘multi-mode’ devices.

There were two 3G platform announcements:

First, NXP, a long-time supporter of UMA-enabled platforms announced support for a 3G/UMTS version of their Nexperia product line. NXP is supplier to UMA-device powerhouse Samsung, so look for 3G handsets from them in the future.

Second was an announcement that Qualcomm and Kineto have developed a UMA-enabled version of their 72xx series platform. Qualcomm’s market position makes this a very strategic announcement, opening up the potential for UMA-enabled devices from many different handset manufacturers.

This is a 'rolls down hill' type of business. Operators decide what they need. They put pressure on their handset suppliers. The handset suppliers turn to their platform suppliers to get platforms to meet those requirements. The platform suppliers work with the component providers to develop sub-systems to meet the need.

It's clear that demand from the top continues to be strong for UMA-enabled handsets.

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