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Sub-$100 Purple Magic 3G Linux powered mobile phone unveiled by NXP and Purple Labs

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The independent semiconductor company founded by Philips - NXP Semiconductors and the embedded Linux solution provider for mobile phones - Purple Labs today announced the low-cost Linux-powered 3G mobile phone. The so called Purple Magic phone is based on the NXP Nexperia Cellular System Solution 7210 for 3G, coupled with the Purple Labs Linux suite.

First it’s important to say this is a reference phone, so I doubt we’ll see it released to the general public. But considering the fact Purple Magic is available as the “fully integrated, turnkey solution”, I guess we’ll we’ll have some handset manufacturers releasing their own versions of the device. Heck, we may even see mobile operators in the regions of Southeast Asia, Eastern Europe and Latin America offering the device using their brand on the device.

Anyway, in case you want to know more about this, keep reading for the full press release.

PRESS RELEASE - NXP Semiconductors, the independent semiconductor company founded by Philips, and Purple Labs, a leading supplier of embedded Linux solutions for mobile phones, jointly announced today 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.

“NXP believes in Linux as the basis for the next generation of mobile handset innovation,” said Dan Rabinovitsj, Senior Vice President and General Manager, Cellular Business, NXP Semiconductors. “We’ve been working closely with Purple Labs to develop Linux-based mobile terminals that meet the cost and performance requirements of the mass market. Our joint achievement is to bring the advantages of an Open OS environment to the mass market based on industry leading silicon and software.”

“The Purple Magic reference phone clearly demonstrates our combined leadership in the mobile Linux arena,” added Wilkinson. “While the mobile Linux industry has largely concentrated on high-end devices, the Purple Magic is the first 3G Linux mass-market reference feature phone available today.”

The Purple Magic phone will be exhibited at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain on February 11-14, 2008 in the NXP booth (Hall 8, B110).



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