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A mobile phone that works on penlight cells

Anand Parthasarathy

It is likely to be the cheapest phone of its type



SINGLE CHIP SOLUTION: The Senior Director, Technology Communications, Infineon Technologies AG, Reiner Schoenrock (left), with the Vice President and Head of the Corporate Software Group, Infineon Technologies AG, and Managing Director of Infineon Technologies India, S. Surya, displaying the low cost mobile phone at a press conference in Bangalore on Tuesday. — Photo: G. R. N. Somashekar

BANGALRORE: Indian engineers at the Bangalore development centre of German semiconductor leader Infineon have helped create the world's first mobile phone, that works from a pair of off-the-shelf `AAA' size batteries.

And when it becomes available early next year, it's also likely to be the cheapest phone of its type, costing around $20 (Rs. 900-1,000).

S. Surya, Infineon's Senior Vice President and head of its eight-year-old India operation, said the phone was fuelled by Infineon's recently developed system-on-a-chip, a one-processor solution where radio and audio parts that go to make up a cell phone's innards were combined in a single slab of silicon smaller than a finger nail.

Infineon engineers at the company's Bangalore-based R&D centre — 550 strong today and due to grow to 800 plus within 18 months — had also tested versions, where, by doubling the memory chips on board, one could add colour to the screen as well as multiple Indian language capability.

If deals with handset manufacturers are sewn up in the next few weeks, customers could get their hands on such sans-frills phones, early in 2006, added Infineon's Munich, Germany-based Senior Director, Reiner Schoenrock.

Solution from Midas

Infineon also announced that the Chennai-based wireless telecom network provider Midas Communication Technologies, would shortly add simultaneous voice and data Internet telephony options to its indoor fixed-wireless portfolio, by deploying another recent Infineon chip offering, the INCA-IP.

This can provide a `last mile' hop of up to 35 km from the nearest access point.

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