Cell phone handsets (or “terminals,” as they’re called in Europe) are among the most dynamic products in the electronics market today. From their original analog roots, they have evolved into nearly pure digital devices with as much functionality as complex PDAs. Consumers who once evaluated handsets based on their ability to make high-quality local calls now take call clarity as a given. Their choices instead rest on characteristics ranging from a handset’s “skin” color to its ability to support streaming video. Buyers, even those shopping for low-cost handsets, increasingly demand these kinds of features: “extras” are well on their way to becoming standards. This shift puts manufacturers in a bind as they try to balance low cost with the ever-increasing consumer insistence on new features. Should customers pay for these features outright, or should their monthly payments subsidize the handset cost?

Each country has adopted an individual economic model to resolve this question. Common to all of these models, however, is a need to financially cope with increasing numbers of new features. Our goal in this white paper is to show how using CoolRunner™-II CPLDs in handsets will make it easier for handset developers to make these future changes—as well as baseline handset capability—financially viable.