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NXP and Purple Labs Unveil First Sub-$100 3G Linux Mobile Phone

NXP Semiconductors, the independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, and Purple Labs, a supplier of embedded Linux solutions for mobile phones, jointly announced the release of a 3G Linux reference feature phone offering video telephony, music playback, high-speed Internet browsing and video streaming at a transfer price below US$100.

The new Purple Magic phone serves as a reference design for phone manufacturers creating entry-level 3G handsets, including those targeting mobile markets such as Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America.

According to the GSA mobile industry trade group, there are now 197 commercial 3G/WCDMA networks in 87 countries, but the adoption of 3G services is concentrated in mature European and Asian markets.

The viability of 3G services in emerging markets requires large volumes of affordable data-capable devices - and the 3G Purple Magic has been highly optimised specifically to meet this market challenge.

"During the recent holiday period, mobile operators were purchasing entry-level 3G phones for $120 to $145," commented Simon Wilkinson, CEO of Purple Labs. "Leveraging our Linux technology, the Purple Magic design now enables manufacturers to deliver compelling 3G products at a transfer price below $100."

The Purple Magic reference phone is based on the NXP Nexperia Cellular System Solution 7210 for 3G, coupled with the Purple Labs Linux suite, and is available as a fully integrated, turnkey solution.

Production of an initial quantity of fully working phones has enabled Purple Labs to undertake considerable testing and validation, further reducing investment and time to market for OEMs and ODMs that leverage the Purple Magic design.

NXP offers powerful 3G and 3.5G multimedia platforms running on a single ARM926 processor core.

The Nexperia Cellular System Solutions with Linux support true UMTS performance, delivering seamless service coverage in 2G and 3G networks as well as advanced multimedia features that allow consumers to take full advantage of next generation applications and mobile operator services.

The launch comes after Google announced its Android plan last year and acquired Trolltech in a bid to reinforce its mobile platform.

NXP and Nokia are both part of the LiMO foundation which evangelises Linux as a mobile platform and is a rival to the Android platform.

Désiré Athow
Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.