Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Cell Phone On A Chip

michael posted more than 9 years ago | from the beam-me-up dept.

Communications 256

sebFlyte writes "Texas Instruments have developed a new chip for mobiles that, according to some, should make is possible to make a cell phone for less than $25, bringing it into the realm of possibilities for low-level corporate giveaways, or a reasonable loss leader for getting people started on pay-as-you go mobile offerings."

cancel ×

256 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Praise Jesus. (0, Offtopic)

Kill all Muslims (845937) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470886)

Kill all Muslims.

Re:Praise Jesus. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471005)

Re:Praise Jesus. (1)

randallpowell (842587) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471160)

When will Republicians and Democrats understand that wasteful spending doesn't help anything? Does our nation need to call one of those dbt consolidation firms?

test (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470894)

i'm just bored seeing if i will get first post

Pointless policy at work? (4, Interesting)

sanityspeech (823537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470906)

From the article:

Mobile phones contain a number of potentially dangerous substances, such as arsenic, cadmium, ZINC and lead, which can harm the environmental if the handset is not disposed of in a responsible manner.

Oh really? So, why in the world is there this incredible push to make lead-free devices [pb-free.info] , when it appears that the zinc alloys [nikon.co.jp] seem to be the most-likely substitute for lead?

I'm fairly green [panda.org] myself. The question I have is, why adopt whack-a-mole policies that are likely to replace current problems with other problems?

Re:Pointless policy at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470991)

Oh really? So, why in the world is there this incredible push to make lead-free devices, when it appears that the zinc alloys seem to be the most-likely substitute for lead?

Maybe Zinc causes much fewer problems than lead (while still causing some)? No... that's such a totally obvious answer that nobody would have ever have asked such a stupid question. Must be something else.

Re:Pointless policy at work? (1)

Paul d'Aoust (679461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471031)

actually, zinc is quite a tame substance, unlike the other three. I've also read that zinc could be hazardous in the water, soil, etc, but those same papers I read recommend tossing zinc batteries in the garbage. As a matter of fact, many medical scientists suspect that zinc can actually boost your immune system when you're fighting a cold.

so yeah, I don't know why the authors of this article are up-in-arms about zinc; it's immensely preferable to lead.

Re:Pointless policy at work? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471042)

wtf are you saying? zinc is good? bad? lead is good? your post makes little attempt at a POINT. and yes im too lazy to read links. come on, earn your karma!

Re:Pointless policy at work? (1)

sanityspeech (823537) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471128)

zinc is good? bad? lead is good? your post makes little attempt at a POINT. and yes im too lazy to read links

You are right. I do apologize for that.

The purpose of abandoning lead-free solder is because consumer electronics often go to a landfill. This is a bad thing as it pollutes the earth. If more people were to responsibly dispose of old electronics, there would be no need to ditch solder.

The phenomenon known as Tin Whiskers develops whenever you have less than 3% lead by weight in the solder. This causes electronics to malfunction when the "whiskers" snap. They are so small, they can cause electrical shorts. Hopefully you agree this is undesirable in pacemakers.

As some of the other replies suggest, Zinc is the lesser of two evils. So I surmise that this is not a lame-brained attempt to solve the lead pollution problem.

Re:Pointless policy at work? (1)

wolenczak (517857) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471233)

Tin Whiskers have shut down many satellites.

A failure mode is re-emerging that has been responsible for the loss of billions of dollars worth of satellites, missiles and other equipment - electrically conductive 'tin whiskers'. Tin whiskers can develop under typical operating conditions on any product type that uses lead-free pure tin coatings.

http://www.calce.umd.edu/lead-free/tin-whiskers [umd.edu]

Re:Pointless policy at work? (4, Insightful)

WhiplashII (542766) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471056)

Yeah, I think the real advantage here will be low power and high reliability, not in disposable phones. I mean, I can see how you would want to be able to destroy your phone every once in a while - but where is the market crying out for a disposable phone? Who's life does it improve? I think people will continue to keep their phones for about a year.

Incidently, by integrating everything on a chip they should have greatly reduced the amount of dangerous stuff - even the battery for this will probably be smaller.

Re:Pointless policy at work? (1)

Ironsides (739422) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471218)

Battery probably won't get smaller. It'll probably be kept the same or made bigger to fill in the extra space. This way the customers can talk longer on a single charge. I know I don't need to recharge more than once a week (very low use user) but I know of some who have to do it more than once each day (very heavy users).

No sure how much reliability will be affected, though. Same number of processes to print a PCB as before, I suspect. But there will be fewer wires.

Re:Pointless policy at work? (1)

FuzzyDaddy (584528) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471066)

Because they are not equally bad.

Frankly, I'm puzzled why zinc is on there - you can buy zinc lozenges with zinc pennies. Thhere's not much market for lead lozenges.

Re:Pointless policy at work? (1, Insightful)

tomcio.s (455520) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471142)

The question I have is, why adopt whack-a-mole policies that are likely to replace current problems with other problems?

Reasonable response: We shouldn't, even more so, in ideal world we wouldn't.

Real world response: Because a whack study has to be done (read $$ change hands), that study debunked (read $$ change hands), then a commision set up to come up with recomendations (read $$ change hands), furthermore a set of regulations have to be proposed (read $$ changes hands), reviewed (read $$ changes hands) and ractified (read $$, $$, $$ change hands, some $$ under the table), after which, an overseeing body has to be set up (read $$ changes hands), proper disposal techniques researched (read $$ changes hands), and so forth at-nauseum.

In short, problems are best solved by other problems which in turn are solved by another set of problems. All at great $$ expense.

Re:Pointless policy at work? (1)

panurge (573432) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471214)

Good question, but slightly off-topic so I'm replying rather than applying mod points.

Zinc is less harmful than lead, but that's not the whole answer. The real answer is that getting rid of lead has been a rising bandwagon for years, because of the really nasty application of lead - in water pipes and in gasoline. This was directly harmful to large numbers of people. Once a bandwagon is going, it's hard to stop.

Zinc, on the other hand, is by far the most effective way of protecting steel in many environments. There is just no substitute.

FWIW, the greenest metals are probably mild steel and magnesium. Rust is pretty harmless - major constituent of many soils - and magnesium compounds are all over the environment. But they don't make very good electric circuits.

Re:Pointless policy at work? (2, Funny)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471342)

Are you aware that breathing causes cancer? Studies show that 100% of cancer patients breathe.

I suggest that you pull a bag over your head and protect yourself.

Finally! An implant I need! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470917)

I can finally get my phone implanted into the side of my head! HURRAH!

paper cell? (1, Interesting)

mmkkbb (816035) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470918)

Wasn't there supposed to be a manufacturer making cardboard cell-phones with circuit boards printerd by a special inkjet? Whatever happened to them?

Re:paper cell? (1)

EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470956)

It turned out persperation from the cell phone users seriously degraded the integrity of both the units "casing" and the cicrcuitry inside as the overall unit began to deform.

Re:paper cell? (5, Funny)

Smallpond (221300) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470959)

They folded.

Hah! I kill me.

Re:paper cell? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470967)

No, see, that's a cardboard prop for displkay purposes. You're supposed to leave it at OfficeMax for the nice people there to use in other displays. That probably explains why it always seems to say "No signal".

Re:paper cell? (1)

The Bender (801382) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471210)

Maybe you're thinking of the out-of-control media reaction to a dumbly over-hyped press release my university made over a patent I filed a few years ago.
It was for a way to print circuits using a regular laser printer and specially treated parer. By the time it hit the newsstands, it was about disposable paper cell phones that you can download from the internet.
See what I mean? [tribuneindia.com]

On a Chip? (4, Funny)

NardofDoom (821951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470922)

But how will I play games/take pictures/text my friends/browse the Internet/watch TV/cook a burrito/wash my laundry! This thing will never sell.

Re:On a Chip? (1)

Anita Coney (648748) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470933)

Yeah, it makes no sense. A phone you make and receive CALLS on?! Come on!

Re:On a Chip? (1)

EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471017)

You know, if I could get a phone that worked as a phone, wherever I went, no droped calls, no missed calls, decent battery life, and smaller than a breadbox I won't really give a damn if it dosen't butter my toast for me.

Re:On a Chip? (1)

trentblase (717954) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471188)

no missed calls

You're gonna have to get it implanted in your brain. .. and never sleep!

Re:On a Chip? (1)

EnderWigginsXenocide (852478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471090)

Hey, soon these things will be small enough to implant. What's that thing on Andromeda called, a sub-dermal implant.

Put the chip next to the ear and it won't need a whole hell of a lot of power for output to the user. Imagine a world where you won't be bothered by some kid and their Brittney Spears ringtone going non-stop durring a movie you paid good money to enjoy.

Cell phone conversations will be held at whisper quiet levels.

A line to whatever is trying to pass for emergency services is alway available.

Then again, tin hat types... imagine the invasion of privacy potential.

Combine the cellphone on a chip w/ GPS on a chip and a self-locating bug in a very small package will be a reality. Cell phones are perfect to use as bugs, the signal is just about everywhere, and you won't have to stick close to your target as long as your target is in range of a cell network. The cells can transmit data as well as voice, so the GPS will report all the comings and goings of the survailed. But, then again, I wore something like this for years before I was enrolled in the battle school, no biggie.

Re:On a Chip? (1)

Reignking (832642) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471256)

Soon? I remember seeing articles years ago about having a cell phone embedded into a tooth...

how one would dial is beyond me, though.

Re:On a Chip? (1)

Valar (167606) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471330)

Cell phone conversations will be held at whisper quiet levels.

Based on my study of human behavior, I think it is most likely that people will _still_ yell (I guess so everyone around can know how important/angry/busy they are). The difference is that it will be much harder to spot the trully insane wandering the streets.

But... (4, Insightful)

th1ckasabr1ck (752151) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470927)

"It could be like the watch market of twenty of thirty years ago, when companies could give away a watch with their corporate branding,"

But you don't need to sign up for a service plan to wear a watch...

Re:But... (1)

Jpunkroman (851438) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470966)

But don't you want to be the first kid on the block to have an M$ branded cell phone. And amazingly enough, the first kid ever to get a spyware pop-under on your cell phone!

Re:But... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470998)

You will soon. I've filed an e-patent on "a method for measuring and displaying chronological units for a local frame of reference." Both digital and analog watches are covered by my patent, so you are required to buy a license from me to wear a watch. Don't make me Cease & Desist you....

Re:But... (3, Funny)

youngerpants (255314) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471001)

About 5 years ago, McDonalds in Japan were giving away mobile phones with food

OK, I use the word "food" vaguely, but you catch my drift

Re:But... (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471095)

You can get a free cell phone (Mot V60) when you buy certain "My Scene" Barbies. So I hear.

You don't need a service plan (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471038)

Why would you sign up for a service plan for a mobile phone? Just make them pay-as-you-go.

Re:But... (1)

dynamo (6127) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471163)

But you don't need to sign up for a service plan to wear a watch...

Actually, doesn't MS sell watches that you do need to sign up for a subscription service plan to use?

Start with just making PHONES (5, Insightful)

Trolling4Columbine (679367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470930)

I don't want to take pictures with my phone.
I don't want to play MP3s with my phone.
I don't want to check my e-mail with my phone.
I don't want to browse the web with my phone.
I don't want to play games with my phone.

I just want to make phone calls with my phone. Want to lower the average price of a cell-phone? Start with taking all of that crap out of it.

Re:Start with just making PHONES (2, Informative)

LimpGuppy (161354) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470969)

There are some really good, new-technology phones out there that aren't filled with every "me-to" gadget. I got tired of the junk in my Nokia 3650, so the phone after that was an LG4400 (I think that was the model #). It has flawless voice quality, no camera, no web browsing, no Java. It does have text messaging, a modern color display, etc., but it's "just a phone."

Re:Start with just making PHONES (1)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471013)

ditto that.
Can I get a hell yeah !

Re:Start with just making PHONES (4, Insightful)

toxf (751111) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471064)

I don't want to carry around my camera.
I don't want a bulky portable music player.
I don't want to have to stay in my office to stay in touch.
I don't want to have to call a recording service to check movie times.
I don't want to have to buy cargo pants and add pockets.

I want my life to be simpler, smaller, and richer. Being chained to my desk, or carrying around 5 devices and a backpack-full of cables is not appealing to me.

Everyone's got their goals.

MOD PARENT UP (1)

Myuu (529245) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471102)

Thank you.

Re:Start with just making PHONES (1)

Trolling4Columbine (679367) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471103)

There are plenty of pricey phones out there with all those features. Where are the cheap ones with just the essentials?

Re:Start with just making PHONES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471111)

The cameras in cellphones don't even come close to the quality of even low-end digital cameras.

Bulky portable music player? Is that a joke? What music player are you talking about?

You mean your job is so simple that you can actually do it with T9 input on a cellphone screen? A shell script could do your job.

What non-subscription site works on your cellphone well enough that you'd be able to check the movie times faster than calling the movie theater?

What cables do you need for anything you're talking about that you wouldn't need with the all-in-one cellphone?

Bad News for ya . . . (1)

DongleFondle (655040) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471223)

I don't want to carry around my camera.
Cell Phone Camera's suck.

I don't want a bulky portable music player.
Then try one of the billions [google.com] of tiny ones.

I don't want to have to stay in my office to stay in touch.
Let's be realistic, OWA through a cell phone browser would be pretty much worthless.

I don't want to have to call a recording service to check movie times.
This one is just weird. Check em on the internet before you leave the office. Browsing the web on a cell phone is one of the most painful pointless experiences I have ever engaged in.

I don't want to have to buy cargo pants and add pockets.
Yeah, I don't have anything contradictory to say to that.

Re:Start with just making PHONES (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471321)


I don't want to carry around my camera.
I don't want a bulky portable music player.
I don't want to have to stay in my office to stay in touch.
I don't want to have to call a recording service to check movie times.
I don't want to have to buy cargo pants and add pockets.



I call bullshit.

The camera in your phone is absolut crap. It doesn't eliminate the need to cary a real camera if you are at all interested in pictures.

I dunno about music playing phones, but I suspect that they are just toys due to battery life and possibly storage restrictions.

Email on a cell phone is useless for all but trivial emails. It is a PITA to send email, a PITA to read email and does no good for emails containing the text: Please read the attached document.

The Web Browser interface on your phone is WAY slower than dealing with an IVR. Sure you can spend time and effort to customize your configuration to get to one or two sites quickly. Sort of like speed-dial.

The games on your phone are totally lame. Not to mention that battery thing again. Not to mention that you can't use it on a plane. As stupid as they look, I'd go with the Cargo pants.

Your does-it-all phone doesn't replace ANYTHING. It is simply a box of new toys that you have been programmed to feel you need.

Re:Start with just making PHONES (1)

Tsiangkun (746511) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471336)

That great !
There are lots and lots of products designed for you. You should feel awesome, your in the target market as a consumer of converged electronic devices.

I just want a phone that makes calls. I don't want to replace my mp3 player because my camera lens got scratch. I don't want to buy a new all in one device because there has been an advancement in phone technology.

It's a different lifestyle. I don't like being chained to my desk either, thats why I leave my phone and computer at home and go for a hike with my mp3 player. Break the chain, be uncontactable for a few hours, it feels good.

Re:Start with just making PHONES (1)

Thud457 (234763) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471098)

I don't want to wear an electronic leash.


Failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency for me.

Re:Start with just making PHONES (3, Interesting)

MosesJones (55544) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471134)

I don't want to take pictures with my phone.

I do, that way when I'm playing with my kids I can send pictures to the grandparents, they LOVE it.

I don't want to play MP3s with my phone.
I do, I'm on the train alot, being able to play MP3s on the phone stops me having to carry an MP3 player.

I don't want to check my e-mail with my phone.

I do, I'm out of the office alot and I'd prefer to check it on my phone than trek into the office.

I don't want to browse the web with my phone.

I do, Its a quick way to get the football scores at the weekend, check the news, and a quick search before meeting a client to find out some info.

I don't want to play games with my phone

Now this is the bit that is just plain wrong. $3.5bn was spent on Java games last year, that is a major reason that phones are cheap, people can sell you the games which drives down the cost of the devices as people upgrade to the latest phones that support 3D etc. This is consumer economics ala the PC, why do you have a 256Mb graphics card, because MS Word needs it ? Nope because Games need it. Games revenue drives innovation and keeps costs down as people upgrade.

I'm the sort of person who gets the new Nokia 6630 (3G with all the trimmings) because I need all of the elements. And yup I get a contract (because I use the phone alot).

Buying a basic PC, no network, no sound, no USB ports etc... is now very expensive because popular demand wants those things as standard. Its the same with phones, and its those added extras that some people then pay more money to use that keep the cost of your handset down.

Of course if you are in the US please disregard the above as you folks get screwed on "Cell" phones, the models are crap and the networks suck.

And if you are in Japan I know you have better phones than my 6630.

Re:Start with just making PHONES (4, Interesting)

blackmonday (607916) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471143)

I don't get it. You can already buy many, many phones that do nothing but make phone calls. Look at any provider's web page, and they're gonna have starter phones that don't have the new in-demand fancy features. (and that's why they sell them, because people want to buy them)

Hey, buy a used Motorola V66. It's a great phone, makes good calls and is inexpensive. You can still get all the accessories and batteries. Its small and has a metal casing, and it looks cool.

It amuses me that the web site with the most tech-savvy members continually finds new technologies "crap" and this attitude is modded up as insightful. Don't we want phones that do *more* things, that cost the same as our old shittier, bulkier phones?

I folded and got a phone (2, Interesting)

gosand (234100) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471157)

I agree with you, and I recently bit the bullet and joined Verizon. Got two Samsung A650 phones for $20. The service is $59/month, for me and my wife to share minutes. We are moving from Chicago to Arizona soon, and I needed to get phones for the trip.

I was an early adopter of cellphones, my first was the old flip phone. (I worked at Motorola at the time) Then I got the first generation StarTac. But I just didn't use it that much. I grew to hate cellphones the more I saw them. I got rid of it around 1997 and was never happier. I REALLY didn't want to get one, but thought it would be best to have one for our move (we are driving out there). So now I am stuck in a 2-year contract, and we did just get the basic phones.

But to your point, you can get basic phones. I just wish that the service was reliable. After comparing I chose Verizon, but I can't even get a decent signal in my house. I have heard of people getting rid of their landline phone and just using cellphones, but I don't see how this is possible (in the US) with our terrible service.

Re:Start with just making PHONES (1)

hkg4r7h (468346) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471243)

is that you grandma?

seriously, I didn't get my phone because it has a camera in it, but it's unexpectedly fun to play with :-)

Re:Start with just making PHONES (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471277)

Why do people keep saying this? It's not like you can't buy basic phones for near-nothing on the second hand market (think Nokia 3310) or even brand new basic models (Nokia 1100) which have the advantages of modern lithium batteries, an LED light (surprisingly useful), lighter weight, big buttons with good feedback and to top it all the things are damn near indestructible. These phones can be bought without contract for less than £30 ($55).

I do want a camera on my phone - it's no substitute for a real camera but it's nice for uses like "What do you think of this shirt?" or "I'm near this building, come and meet me." or even just snapping unusual sights. I do want web and email on my phone, simply for the convenience of quick checking without finding hotspots or a spot to plug in a cable. It's not like you can't buy a cheap, basic, tough, reliable phone, so why are you complaining about me having the features I want on mine?

Re:Start with just making PHONES (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471329)

So don't buy a new one if you don't want extra features.

$25? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470934)

Let's say hypotehtically that the chip was completely free. Could you even make the case, keypad, display, arial, and battery for $25? Sounds unlikely to me.

Bringing phone prices dows is a good thing, and cutting down on components is too. But I think the disposable cell phone sounds like it's further than 2-3 years away...

Re:$25? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470975)

No need for a display on a $25 phone. You could also use standard batteries as well, LiOn is nice, but expensive.

Re:$25? (1)

halcyon1234 (834388) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471061)

Bringing phone prices dows is a good thing, and cutting down on components is too. But I think the disposable cell phone sounds like it's further than 2-3 years away...

I hate to tell you this, but cellphones already are disposable. Socially, if not technologically. My gf's brother goes through something like 4 phones a year, because he "needs" the new features.

Now, I am of the mindset that very few teenagers actually "need" cell phones, and those who do have no "need" for all the bonus features.

I think it is a very sad commentary on our society (I speak only of North American... it may be the same outside of NA, but from lack of experience I cannot say) when non-disposable items are treated as disposable, but I digress.

And in response to the article, I can't believe that they are theorizing that this "may" usher in an era of cheap-phones-but-expensive-plans. Excuse me? Has the author ever BEEN cell phone shopping? 99.99999% of the phones out there are dirt cheap, if not free-- as long as you sell your soul to the company store in the form of multi-year contracts loaded with exhorborant rates and a plethora of hidden user fees.

Cell phone companies have been more than happy to practically give away cell phones to teenagers for quite a while now, because they know it means free reign of the parent's wallets.

Re:$25? (1)

Lisandro (799651) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471184)

And in response to the article, I can't believe that they are theorizing that this "may" usher in an era of cheap-phones-but-expensive-plans. Excuse me? Has the author ever BEEN cell phone shopping? 99.99999% of the phones out there are dirt cheap, if not free-- as long as you sell your soul to the company store in the form of multi-year contracts loaded with exhorborant rates and a plethora of hidden user fees.

Seriously, cell phone companies will do anything short of offering you a blowjob to get you into a contract with a monthly fee (most of them lasting no less than a year). I bought my cellphone with a "prepaid" system - you buy a $X card containing a code, type it on a menu and the phone has $X available for using. It was more expensive, but in the long run i save money and i'm not tied to bullshit contracts.

Re:$25? (1)

eln (21727) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471085)

Let's say hypotehtically that the chip was completely free. Could you even make the case, keypad, display, arial, and battery for $25?

Probably. Just because your local Sprint store charges you $80 for a new battery and $50 for a cheap molded plastic faceplate doesn't mean that's what those things cost to make.

25$ (1)

KingKire64 (321470) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470942)

Its nice to see it cheaper... but how much cheaper was it from before? And it will help pay as you go services, but at 25$ a pop i still think its a bit away from disposable or giveaways.

Re:25$ (1)

kminchau (850732) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471136)

but even though prices are around $200, I can still walk down to the store and pick up a phone for Free (with service plan). Isn't Free close enough to a giveaway? It just means that they can't force you to buy their 3 year service plan to cover their costs, and they'll have to start offering other benifits like... gasp! ... better service!

A solution looking for a problem (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11470954)

The problem isn't the cost of the phone. It's the cost of the service that keeps me out of the market.

Re:A solution looking for a problem (1)

Wordsmith (183749) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471127)

The phone costs a lot too. But much/all of that is subsidized by your expensive service.

Try to buy a phone without the service - you'll pay $200 for the same phone you'd get as a free giveaway with a contract.

Tiny (4, Funny)

StevenHenderson (806391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470964)

Sweet...one step closer to Zoolander phones!

He-he (4, Funny)

ceeam (39911) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470987)

"hould make is possible to make a cell phone for less than $25, bringing it into the realm of possibilities for low-level corporate giveaways, or a reasonable loss leader for getting people started on pay-as-you go mobile offerings"

/me giggling quietly as typing this

Americans, eh? :)

You mean... (1)

nate nice (672391) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470989)

"or a reasonable loss leader for getting people started on pay-as-you go mobile offerings."

Don't you mean "Pay-go". Mwahahahahaha!!

yeah... (2, Insightful)

Spytap (143526) | more than 9 years ago | (#11470994)

Yeah, the cell phone providers will let that happen. The whole reason they can have you by the balls (service contract) is that you're getting a discount on the phone, tske that away and their left with actually having to provide decent service and features instead of pushing to sign new customers into a 2 year agreement.

How about a cheap, non-disposable phone? (4, Insightful)

Japong (793982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471046)

I think there's a growing population who just wants a plain cell phone now.

You know, for talking on - instead of having bluetooth, a built in camera, FM-Tuner, an internet service that costs $10/1 megabyte, pager and orchestrated ringtones.

If I could buy a new (possibly smaller, lighter, more battery-efficent) cell phone I would - but stores don't carry anything that basic. You have to spend at least $100 (CDN) for anything wihout a plan, and I'm sure the lion's share of that is going towards a colour screen and features I don't want.

Almost makes me yearn for an Apple iPhone. Does what it should, elgantly and without any extra "fluff".

Re:How about a cheap, non-disposable phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471105)

Has Apple ever made hardware that is cheap (in the sense of inexpensive)? Isn't their business model predicated on relatively expensive hardware?

Re:How about a cheap, non-disposable phone? (1)

Japong (793982) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471148)

The new iPod shuffle qualifies for that one, I think. Same with the Mac Mini.

Re:How about a cheap, non-disposable phone? (1)

Rude Turnip (49495) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471154)

You're still going to get people bitching about the lack of a built-in FM tuner. Newsflash: adding an FM tuner to a cheap MP3 player does not an iPod killer make...if there was anything worth listening to on FM, I wouldn't need a music player in the first place! /offtopic rant

Re:How about a cheap, non-disposable phone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471190)

Well, now that you can add a phone chip for $25, it's going to happen soon. Or maybe an apapter for the top of your pod similar to the iTrip. All it would need is a slot for the sim card http://gsm.argospress.com/subscridentimodul.htm [argospress.com] .
Damn, www.iphone.com is already taken.

Re:How about a cheap, non-disposable phone? (1)

MoonBuggy (611105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471351)

If I could buy a new (possibly smaller, lighter, more battery-efficent) cell phone I would - but stores don't carry anything that basic. You have to spend at least $100 (CDN) for anything wihout a plan, and I'm sure the lion's share of that is going towards a colour screen and features I don't want.

Nokia 1100. Black and white screen, long life lithium battery, not much else. Costs less than £30 ($55) without contract.

Data (1)

simpl3x (238301) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471048)

Anybody know how these relate to possible data uses? It would be nice to see comm chips for cell/wi-fi built inot laptops.

Cheap devices. (2, Interesting)

jericho4.0 (565125) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471059)

I think this is interesting not because it promises cheap phones, but the spread of cheap access to the network for other devices. Laptops with built in cell access, vending machines, cars, etc.

invisible cells (5, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471062)

Putting a "cellphone" on a chip for $10 is not just good news for cheap "cellphones". It's great news for putting everything on the Internet, along with the simple human interface that is the 12-key pad and voice. Back through the early 20th Century, motors were big, complex, inefficient and expensive enough that motors were a separate industry. Factories used to have a single motor, like a mill or animal-driven cogwheel, its power distributed through the enterprise over pulleys, ropes and chains. Once motors became cheap commodities, simple to integrate, motors became commonplace enough to become invisible, and the motor industry was subsumed into the larger electronics and transportation industries they enable. Now that cellphones are becoming similarly mundane components, we can start to forget about them, and the era when immediate communication among people and devices required a second thought.

Re:invisible cells (1)

ticktockticktock (772894) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471116)

Do people really need to stay in contact that often?

Re:invisible cells (2, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471230)

After telecom ubiquity changes our lives (again), we'll think more of it as "always connected". Like an "always-on" Internet connection. Old people like me might never need it, but kids will be unable to think of the world as disconnected, or where distance matters for keeping in touch. Communications paradigms are rarely driven by "need" in the mass market, but rather by convenience, and universality.

Wow, this is great news for criminals everywhere! (-1, Offtopic)

Illserve (56215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471069)

No longer will they have to keep their 10 sim cards on a keychain and swap them into their phone. Now they can just have 10 phones, enabling them to set up deals for buying and selling drugs to different parties *at the same time*.

Being a crook was never easier!

Re:Wow, this is great news for criminals everywher (0, Offtopic)

Illserve (56215) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471257)

Offtopic? Not that I care about my karma, but where the hell did you people go to moderation school?

Re:Wow, this is great news for criminals everywher (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471355)

Retardland, surely. The first thing I considered was how much cheaper this would make cash prepaid cellphones for illicit enterprirses that require such communication.

Really? (1)

deconvolution (715827) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471094)

Initially, Nokia will target the entry-level mobile phone market in countries such as India and China.

AFAIK, in China, an entry-level mobile phone would have a colour screen, advanced midi rings, and a camera (in 2005 it would be a standard part in chinese market). I cannot see where such a chip mobile phone can stand in the market, although I think it is good as an component embeded in some equipments.

imagine a ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471101)

Baewulf cluster of these things ;)

seriously, though -- what about adding this (and an antenna) to a MoBo chipset (like the integrated modems, &c.)? no more hardline required for network connectivity...

Maximum Functionality at Minimal Price Point (5, Interesting)

reporter (666905) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471109)

The marketing idea that Texas Instruments (TI) has developed is a rehash of an old idea: set a low price point and maximize the amount of functionality that can be sold at that point. One of the earliest examples is the VIC-20 computer from Commodore. It set the price of the contraption at (I think) $199.95, and then the engineers put as much functionality as they could into the product at the price point. The VIC was a smashing success even though William Shatner (ouch!) served as the spokesmodel.

Here, TI is setting a low price point for the chip/chipset and cramming as much functionality as TI's engineers can force into the chip/chipset. Over time, such efforts become easier because the feature size of integrated circuits becomes smaller, and you can simply put more "stuff" into a fixed area of chip. Further, the area of the chip determines its price to a first-order approximation.

I wish that someone would do another VIC-20. For $200.00, I bet that we could get an awesome computer, but I doubt that any of the traditional companies like HP, IBM, and Sony would be interested. The profit margin would be minimal. So, these companies continue to set a high price point, say, $2000.00, and sell a system with commensurate functionality -- a lot of functionality that I simply do not need for reading e-mail and posting articles to SlashDot.

Re:Maximum Functionality at Minimal Price Point (1)

Elwood P Dowd (16933) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471291)

I wish that someone would do another VIC-20. For $200.00

AMD already did it. It's not that cool [amd.com] .

Re:Maximum Functionality at Minimal Price Point (1)

magarity (164372) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471298)

I wish that someone would do another VIC-20. For $200.00, I bet that we could get an awesome computer

It's called the PIC [amdboard.com] by AMD (The one shown uses WinCE but you can use whatever as it's completely x86 compatible; Linspire has a demo with their software). Not sure about the 'awesome' qualifier but it is tiny, efficient, and works perfectly well.

$200 PC has already arrived! (1)

rednip (186217) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471308)

Walmart [walmart.com] is selling on (without monitor) for just under $200. I don't know what decade your living in but, the only people who pay $2,000 for a new PC are hard-core gamers, and early tech adapters. The PC market is very price competitive

In fact that machine is an example of consolidation of function, creating a lower price; it has integrated Ethernet, graphics, and audio. What we now think of as the processor used to be several chips with individual function.

Pay as you go = scam (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471112)

So why can't I get a pay as you go plan where the unused minutes don't disappear in 30 or 60 days? Forget the $25 mobile phone. Just let me keep the minutes that I paid for. I'll buy a $250 phone if you stop expiring paid for minutes 6 to 12 times a year.

Bundled deals – AAAAGH! (3, Insightful)

shic (309152) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471117)

I'm not sure how it is in the rest of the world, but here in the UK I've long suspected that the whole mobile telecoms industry is "bent as a nine-bob note" (to use a local colloquialism!)

For example, looking at the phone I'd like to buy - it costs around £300 without a contract, but can be had for free on a 12 month contract costing approximately £20 to £25 per month plus calls. This suggests that a substantial portion of the contract price is subsidy for the phone. One would assume, therefore, that if I were to buy the phone outright that the airtime contract would be significantly cheaper? Well - it doesn't work like that. I'd still end up paying about the same for airtime and calls. What I feel we need far more than a cheap chip is an honest pricing policy. The whole business of subsidised handsets, IMHO stinks.

Re:Bundled deals – AAAAGH! (1)

throbbingbrain.com (443482) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471228)

Why doesn't the montly fee drop after the contract expires? Presumably you've paid off the phone by then.

I'm about to get another 'free' phone just to chip away at their profit margin!

Do you ever look in the Sunday paper? (1)

stupidfoo (836212) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471132)

or a reasonable loss leader for getting people started on pay-as-you go mobile offerings.

Almost every cell provider does this already, and not just for pay-as-you go type offerings. Cingular has three phones that are free [cingular.com] instantly, with no mail in rebates involved.

Pre-paid phones usually rely on mail in rebates, but there are still prepaid phones available that would net to free after (if?) the rebate check arrives.

I know where I'll be putting my money (2, Insightful)

PetoskeyGuy (648788) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471133)

The landfill industry

Huh? (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471145)

I don't see where these comclusions came from. Single-sourced chips from TI are likely to be MORE expensive than more generic chips. The cost of the chips is dwarfed by the costs of marketing the phones. None of this is likely to lead to a $25 phone.

old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471149)

This was posted on several sites a few days ago. Why is /. always so slow? I saw it on google news and on Drudge report....

give it a vibrate function (0, Troll)

RegalBegal (742288) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471161)

sell it with a plastic bag and you've locked down the 18-65 Women's market.

They already PAY you to take cell phones! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11471273)

How does this $25 chip help consumers when cell companies already pay them huge amounts of cash to take the things off their hands? Amazon sometimes offers a T-Mobil camera phone with bluetooth and other bells and whistles for -$275, all said and done. Yes, even after the cost of the phone, you're up by $275. The contract is only one year, rather than the typical two. With the rebates, the contract is already half paid for.

Now all we need... (1)

HotNeedleOfInquiry (598897) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471314)

Is a cellsite on a chip and free airwaves. Like they used to be.

Bad for the Environment??? I think not! (2, Insightful)

dj_tsd (548135) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471318)

Hasn't anyone else gathered that by integrating everything into a single chip architecture, the amount of waste on the front end should be far less.

Think about it for a second (1)

CzarMike (764771) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471320)

Umm, am I the only person who thinks that it is f*n crazy for us to believe that a company spends over $25 on a phone? I only paid about $25 for my last phone brand new, so is this even relevant? Just seems like people surrounding themselves with buzzwords, hey everyone "cell-phone" "new chip"
want some candy?

What did I miss? (2, Informative)

bahamat (187909) | more than 9 years ago | (#11471347)

Don't they already give away phones, and have pay as you go services? We don't need a $25 chip for that.

Not that cell phone capabilities on inexpensive chips isn't welcomed, but your pitch seems a little skewed. I'm not very excited about new technologies that will let me do what has already been going on for years (which is why the Media PC is such a non-event). Dream a little about the possibilities of new technology! How about Spooner's phone from I, Robot? "Hey, cool bluetooth earpiece!", "No, that's my whole phone!" Or maybe Steve Jobs will decide to add this into the next iPod version. Now that's a little more exciting.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?