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TI Unveils Efficient Chip

BEIJING -- Texas Instruments (TXN) is responding to China's ever more demanding cell-phone users by introducing a chip that promises to lower the cost of handsets offering features like advanced digital cameras and games.

TI's new eCosto platform will help handset makers "develop lower-cost multimedia phones to service the world's fastest growing markets -- countries like China, India, Brazil and Russia," Chief Executive Richard Templeton told an audience of phone makers and telecom operators in Beijing.

As a single-chip processor that integrates several functions, the eCosto boosts efficiency, saving space and extending battery life, TI says.

eCosto is the higher-end sequel to TI's first single-chip cell-phone processor introduced in 2004, which the company billed as a major advance. That chip, known as LoCosto, is now used by 15 handset makers worldwide in phones that cost around $30 to $50.

The new eCosto lineup will be aimed at fancier phones that cost closer to $100 and will enter production in 2008.

China currently has more than 400 million cell-phone subscribers, and that number is expected to climb to 600 million two years out, according to market research firm In-Stat.

"The Chinese market is very large already, and therefore you can see a similar type of segmentation as in the global market," said Alain Mutricy, TI's general manager of cellular systems solutions.

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