RealTime IT News

Philips Tapped for Disposable Cell Phones

The semiconductor unit of Philips Electronics Friday said it will again supply chips for disposable cell phone maker Hop-On .

The new contract center's on Irvine, Calif.-based Hop-On's CDMA disposable cell phones, which are based on Philips' ASIC chip technology. The semiconductor maker also supplies components for Hop-On's GSM and TDMA protocol models. The Federal Communications Commission approved the handsets for use earlier this year.

Hop-On's GSM phones can operate at 900 MHz, 1800 MHz, or 1900 MHz. The TDMA phones can operate at 800 MHz or 1900 MHz respectively.

The new CDMA phone is a digital, single mode cellular handset that operates in the 800 MHz frequency band. The company says its phones are a good alternative to full service cellular contracts and prepaid calling cards. The handsets including the plastic and components are fully recyclable. Hop-On phones come with a rechargeable battery, 60-minues of prepaid calling time and the ability to add on additional minutes.

Last month, Hop-On said Viasystems would manufacture 61,000 of its CDMA 800 MHz disposable/recyclable cell phones. The order is the initial phase of a volume manufacturing and low-cost component sourcing agreement between the two companies for production in China.

"Our initial launch was a success based on the units selling out within the first day," Hop-On chairman and CEO Peter Michaels said during a briefing last month. "Our plan remains for Hop-On to have a national presence in the U.S. late in the fourth quarter. This will give us the retail presence necessary to ramp up our manufacturing volumes."

Philips is one of the largest chip makers in the world. Analog and mixed-signal integrated circuits (ICs) from its huge product portfolio are used in everything from televisions to car radios to cellular phones to computer peripherals. The semiconductor division also makes many types of general-purpose discrete semiconductors and logic devices.