Home » Geopolitics, Mobile Internet, smartphones, SoC

Category Archives: Geopolitics, Mobile Internet, smartphones, SoC


Marvell’s single chip TD-SCDMA solutions beaten (again) by two-chip solutions of Chinese vendors

Follow-up: First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21 – Sept 25, 2011]

Suggested preliminary reading:
China Mobile repositioning for TD-LTE with full content and application aggregation services, 3G [HSPA level] is to create momentum for that [June 18, 2011]
High expectations on Marvell’s opportunities with China Mobile [May 28, 2011]
ASUS, China Mobile and Marvell join hands in the OPhone ecosystem effort for “Blue Ocean” dominance [March 8, 2011]
Marvell beaten by Chinese chipmakers in sub 1,000 yuan handset procurement tender of China Mobile[Nov 15, 2010]

ZTE, Huawei & Lenovo Jointly Won New Mobile Bidding [July 8, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

ZTE Corporation (SZSE: 000063), Shenzhen Huawei Technologies Co., Ltd. and Lenovo Group Co., Ltd. (SEHK: 000992) jointly won the mobile bidding launched by China Mobile Communication Corp (China Mobile in short, SEHK: 00941) last month.

At the beginning of June, China Mobile launched a new round of mobile bidding, with bidding products being CNY 1000 [US$152] intelligent mobiles and purchase scale being 7 million popular G3 mobiles and 3 million G3 wireless telephones.

The bidding result came out on July 6 evening, ZTE, Huawei and Lenovo won the bidding while foreign brands got nothing.

China Mobile Commissions Three Million+ Mobile TV Smartphones [July 7, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

China Mobile, the country’s biggest mobile telco, has announced the winning bidders for its tender of three to four million mobile TV smartphones, with Lenovo, Huawei, and ZTE being the selected hardware makers.

The order is believed to be for six different handsets, of 500,000 to 600,000 units each. All of them will be 3Gsmartphones, on the homegrown TD-SCDMA frequency that China Mobile uses, and they will all be low- to mid-level phones on the cheaper end of the smartphone scale.

Mobile TV is the most unique feature that the phones will bring. Again, this is a China-developed technology – the CMMB standard for mobileTV transmission – that is being pushed by the state-owned China Mobile.

The mobile TV roll-out started in March of this year, across 300 cities and to huge fanfare in (state) media – see this Sina Tech reportfrom the time (article in Chinese).

It’s not clear which OS this new batch of mobiles will be running, but it is very likely that they’re also rocking China Mobile’s own Androidmodification, dubbed OPhone, which has mobile TV support baked in – as seen in the two photos of the OPhone-powered Lenovo O1 in this post.

China Mobile has struggled to get appealing handsets onto its TD-SCDMA network, but this year finally got some attractive top-end Motorola and HTC smartphones.

Domestic Vendors Win China Mobile TD-SCDMA Handset Tender [July 6, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

China Mobile (NYSE: CHL; 0941.HK) has released a list of winning bidders in its TD-SCDMA handset procurement tender. The tender is for six handset models, approximately 500,000 to 600,000 of each for a total of 3-4 mln units. The orders are divided between Lenovo (0992.HK), ZTE (0763.HK; 000063.SZ), and Huawei, with chips to be supplied by Spreadtrum (Nasdaq: SPRD), Leadcore and MediaTek. Spreadtrum and Leadcore will provide chipsets for two models each, while MediaTek will provide for one, and MediaTek and Leadcore will provide one they have jointly developed.

According to an industry source, the tender is for low-end and mid-range entry-level TD-SCDMA handsets equipped with CMMB mobile phone TV capability slated for launch in Q3 2011. Nearly 100 handset products were offered by over a dozen manufacturers in the bidding. Marvell was among the chipset bidders, but was not selected since its products are aimed at high-end TD-SCDMA handsets.

The source said that overseas handset and chipset makers did not participate in the tender because they are more focused on the low-end and mid-range TD-SCDMA smartphone market, and China Mobile’s unit price range was simply too low to attract their interest.

Spreadtrum Rides China TD-SCDMA Wave, Says Wedge; More On China Mobile iPhone [July 8, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Wedge Partners analyst Brian Blair this morning writes that he thinks wireless chip maker Spreadtrum (SPRD) won half of a recent 4 million-unit order by China Mobile (CHL) for chips based on the country’s home-brewed “TD-SCDMA” wireless standard, and that the orders should continue to flow for the company.

Based on checks by contacts in China, writes Blair, Spreadtrum’s overall TD-SCDMA chipset shipments probably exceeded expectations in June, while the GSM flavors of its chipsets probably “recovered” in the month, bringing total chipset shipments to 17 million units. He thinks the company will probably forecast the current quarter about in line with the Street consensus of 57 cents per share in profit.

We believe there will be more low/middle-end TD handset procurements in the second halfand we continue to believe that Spreadtrum has the best position in that market.”

… On another note, Blair tells me that he and his team were reviewing a photo put online on a Chinese blog this week that appeared to show an Apple (AAPL) iPhonethat was stamped with the China Mobile designation.

That picture yesterday was interpreted by Ticonderoga’s Brian White as further evidence that a version of the iPhone for China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA network is “imminent.” …

Spreadtrum: Extremely Compelling After Broad Chinese Stock Sell-Off [July 9, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

We believe that there will be approximately total 55M TD-SCDMA units sold in 2011 and 90M in 2012. Spreadtrum should have approximately 40% market share in 2011 and 40 – 45% share in 2012.

Pricing is extremely competitive in China and we expect ASPs to continue to decline. ASPs on TD chips are currently approximately $7. Spreadtrum has a cost advantage since it is the only supplier producing chips on 40nm lithography. Other chip suppliers are producing chips using 60nm or 90nm lithography and above. Spreadtrum’s smaller die results in an approximate 40% cost advantage, enabling Spreadtrum to sell at a lower ASP and to maintain gross margins at/above 40%. For Spreadtrum, 3G chipsets should increase from 20% of total revenue at the end of 2010 to 40% by the end of 2012.

Spreadtrum is viewed by the Chinese government as a local Chinese company vs. MediaTek which is Taiwanese. Spreadtrum receives R&D grants of a few million US dollars annually from the Chinese government. Spreadtrum is a preferred vendor to promote the TD-SCDMA standard. The Chinese government wants a strong Chinese domestic chipset supplier.

Jianzhou Wang, the Chairman of China Mobile:

Single-chip may also fail, but the two-chip is no problem, that is coupled with a single-chip chip to do the TD call, without any problems. TD’s current dual-core chip has not done such a grade, but it can take the iPhone with a TD-chip chip.

[In response to the reporter’s question: From the technical point of view, TD maturity of the chip is able to meet the needs of the iPhone’s design?]

From: Wang: 4G is no timetable … [July 6, 2011, via Google translate]

Behind Spreadtrum’s Improbable Turnaround [July 10, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

The first opportunity came as a 90 million RBM TD-SCDMA research contract offered by China Mobile in May 2009. It was recalled by Chen Datong (see the interview) that “Leo Li and five other VPs of the company made an agreement, that if the product cannot meet the technical requirements by May, they would resign together.” (Note that Spreadtrum developed the first TD-SCDMA chip in China under Wu Ping’s management.) The 90 million contract helped Spreadtrum’s top line reflected in 2009 Q2 financial statements. (Chinese media reported this contractin 2009.)

… In June 2009, Spreadtrum ramped up a 6600L baseband chip developed under Wu Ping and launched the product aiming to compete against Mediatek’s MT6225. With comparable performance, the 6600L chip was cheaper by $1 USD on its own and by $2 USD in terms of integrated solution. The price advantage is huge given that the average profit on a low-end cell phone is about $1.4 USD. As a result, Mediatek, the market leader that enjoyed over 90% of market share back then, was forced to participate in this price war in the second half of 2009.

China T&T trip: Structural changes in China handset market [The Goldmann Sachs Group, May 24, 2011] (emphasis in paragraphs is mine)

Muted group procurement result of TD smartphone in May, indicating backend loaded demand with low SP mix in 2011

Leadcore, Huawei, and Borqs indicated that China Mobile (CM) procured only 1.2mn TD smartphone (SP) with a minimum order of 200,000 for each model, well below the market
expectation of 12mn units
with minimum guaranteed order of 800,000 per model. CM has selected six models (three Ophone, two Android, and one feature phone) from Huawei, ZTE, Samsung, Lenovo, Motorola, and Coolpad. They attributed the disappointing central procurement result of TD smartphone to relatively poor quality of phones.

CM would like to give 60% of its SP orders to Marvell. However, in a recent stability test by CM, Leadcore scored at 95% pass rate, with T3G at 93% and MRVL at only 65%. …

China market: TD-SCDMA device makers reportedly urged to slow cooperation with Marvell [March 31, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

Some TD-SCDMA end market device makers in China have reportedly urged their fellow local companies not to rush to adopt TD-SCDMA chips from Marvell Technology on concerns of stability and instead should use similar chips offered by China-based chipmakers, according to industry sources.

Device makers in China stated that the development of TD-SCDMA chips by China-based chipmakers has matured with most solutions having been used in volume commercially without problems regarding to stability.

Although Marvell has been eager to develop TD-SCDMA chips and also cooperated closely with China Mobile, China-based device makers are still skeptical about the stability and commercialization of TD-SCDMA chips from Marvell, claimed the sources.

Despite the concerns from China-based device makers, Asustek Computer has unveiled recently in Beijing a number of TD-SCDMA enabled handsets built using chipset solutions from Marvell, the sources indicated.

China handset and solution makers form alliance to push global image and sales [April 27, 2011] (emphasis is mine)

More than 30 makers in the upstream and downstream handset industries in China have recently formed an alliance, aiming to promote brand image as well as to push sales of China-made handsets globally, according to industry sources in Taiwan.

Participating members include Lenovo, ZTE, TCL, Beijing Tianyu, G’Five, Coolpad, SIM Technology and chipset makers Spreadtrum Communications and RDA Microelectronics, but do not include MediaTek and other Taiwan-based handset makers, the sources noted.

The exclusion of Taiwan-based chipset solution vendors and handset makers may encourage alliance members to adopt handset solutions and parts and components from suppliers in China, the sources indicated.

Update: Huawei Joins Group of Global OEMs Accelerating Adoption of China’s TD-SCDMA Standard with New Ultra-Thin ‘Super’ Smartphone Powered by Marvell’s Single-Chip Solution [Aug 10, 2011]

Marvell (Nasdaq: MRVL), a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today announced that Huawei’s new T8300 ultra-thin smartphone, powered by Marvell’s industry’s first commercially available TD-SCDMA single chip solution, has passed China Mobile’s rigorous testing requirements and has shipped to its stores throughout China. The ultra-thin Huawei T8300 measures only 11.2 millimeters thick with Marvell® PXA918 processor and is one of the six new smart phones selected by China Mobile in its first round of procurement this year.

“Marvell’s TD-SCDMA single chip solution was the only semiconductor that offered the high-performance processing power and low power consumption we required to deliver a powerful, stylish, multimedia TD smartphone at the right price,” said Mr. Wang Yanmin, President of Mobile Phone Product Line, Huawei Device. “With its long-term commitment to TD and its leadership in the market, we were confident that Marvell could seamlessly deliver the right technology efficiently and be a true partner in bringing our new T8300 smartphone to market.”

Huawei’s T8300 is also equipped with Marvell’s latest 802.11n Wi-Fi solution and runs OMS 2.5, the newest Ophone operating system. It features a 3.2 inch capacitive touchscreen, 720p video decoding and gravity, light and proximity sensors.

Note that T8300 is the TD-SCDMA specific redesign of the IDEOS X3 smartphone announced at MWC’11 (but only delivered since June’11, for around US$240 in Singapore and for around US$200 in Malaysia). The Qualcomm MSM7227 SoC (announced in Feb’09 for sub-$150 smartphones) used in X3 was not able to support TD-SCDMA so the only available SoC was Marvell’s PXA920/918 SoCs family available since Sep’09 (although capable of passing the rigorous TD-SCDMA tests only almost 2 years later as on can see from Marvell’s above press release).

Update: The PXA920 opportunity was realized only in September 2011, two years later than the September 2009 launch. See: First real chances for Marvell on the tablet and smartphone fronts [Aug 21, 2011]

Marvell Drives New Rollout of TD-SCDMA Smartphones from China Mobile, the World’s Largest Mobile Operator [June 28, 2011] (emphasis is mine)
ZTE Launch Signals New Era of TD-SCDMA Smart Devices in China Powered by Marvell’s Industry-First Single Chipe Solutions

Marvell (Nasdaq: MRVL), a worldwide leader in integrated silicon solutions, today announced the introduction of four new TD-SCDMA (Time Division Synchronous Code Division Multiple Access) smart devices by ZTE, including two smartphones, a mobile tablet and a mobile hot spot device. All four devices are customized for China Mobile’s 3G TD-SCDMA market, and feature Marvell’s industry-first TD-SCDMA single chip solution and the most advanced mobile 802.11n Wi-Fi technology with beam-forming capability.

The ongoing collaboration between Marvell and ZTE, one of China’s most prominent and innovative communications companies, delivers highly cost-effective smart devices to Chinese end users that are tailor-made for China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA standard. Marvell and ZTE have also worked together to develop end-to-end TD-HSPA+. In the future, the two companies intend to further cooperate to develop creative mobile phone solutions and emerging mobile Internet applications. In recent years, the two companies have also collaborated on a passive optical network (PON), network switches, WLAN and CPUs.

ZTE Product Highlights

  • Blade U880, one of ZTE’s flagship smartphones, is powered by the Marvell® PXA920 and features a 3.5 inch WVGA capacitive touchscreen at a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, delivering exquisite pictures with rich colors and multi-touch. Other features include Android 2.2 support, a TD-SCDMA +WLAN dual wireless Web connection, WLAN-AP wireless routing, CMMB (MBBMS) mobile phone TV, a 5 megapixel auto-focus camera, 720p high-definition video, GPS/AGPS navigation and a 3D graphics processing accelerator.
  • Light Tab T9, powered by the Marvell PXA920, is a 7-inch tablet with a WVGA capacitive touchscreen that is only 12.6 millimeters in thickness. It supports phone calls, China Mobile’s CMMB+MBBMS mobile TV, WLAN, Bluetooth and FM. The device also ships with GPS, an electronic compass, an eBook reader and a camera.
  • U802 is a highly affordable (sub 1,000 Renminbi [RMB]), all-white smartphone powered by the Marvell PXA918. It features a 2.8 inch touch screen, WLAN/WAPI data connection, CMMB TV, accelerometer for UI auto-rotate, 3 megapixel and 0.3 megapixel dual cameras, a 3D graphics accelerator, Android 2.2 support and a customized Widget desktop.
  • A6 is a highly affordable mobile hot spot device customized for TD-SCDMA networks powered by the Marvell PXA920. It ensures smooth switching between TD and Wi-Fi and self-creation of hotspots. It supports up to eight terminal access points and is small, portable and easy to operate.

中兴U880 ZTE U880 (ZTE中兴U880) (ZTE ZTE U880) [extracted on July 11, 2011]
(via Google translate)

参考价格: Price:
1180 [北京] ¥ 1180 [Beijing]
商家报价Business offer:
¥1043至¥1480 ¥ 1043 to ¥ 1480
  • ZTE U880 - the main screen -- 11-July-2011网络模式: GSM,TD-SCDMA Network mode: GSM, TD-SCDMA
  • 外观设计:直板 Design: Straight
  • 主屏尺寸: 3.5英寸480×800像素 The main screen size: 3.5 inches480 × 800 pixels
  • 触摸屏:电容屏 Touch screen: capacitive touch panel
  • 摄像头像: 500万像素CMOS Camera head: 500 million pixel CMOS
  • 操作系统: Android OS v2.2 Operating System: Android OS v2.2
  • 机身内存: 512MB Body Memory: 512MB
  • 电池容量: 1250mAh Battery capacity: 1250mAh

中兴U880参数 ZTE U880 parameters [extracted on July 11, 2011]
(via Google translate)

Listing Date
纠错 2011年05月 in May 2011

手机类型 Phone type
纠错 3G手机 3G mobile phone

外观设计 Design
纠错 直板 straight

主屏尺寸 The main screen size
纠错 3.5英寸 3.5 inches

触摸屏 Touch Screen
纠错电容屏 capacitors screen

主屏材质 The main screen material

主屏分辨率 The main screen resolution
纠错 480×800像素 480 × 800 pixels

主屏色彩 The main screen color
纠错 26万色 262K

网络模式 Network mode

数据业务 Data services

支持频段 Support band
纠错 2G:GSM 850/900/1800/1900 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
3G:TD-SCDMA 1880-1920/2010-2025MHz 3G: TD-SCDMA 1880-1920/2010-2025MHz

操作系统 Operating system
纠错 Android OS v2.2 Android OS v2.2

CPU频率 CPU frequency
纠错 800MHz 800MHz

机身内存 Body memory
纠错512MB 512MB

存储卡 Memory card
纠错MicroSD卡,支持App2SD功能 MicroSD card support App2SD function

电池容量 Battery capacity
纠错1250mAh 1250mAh

键盘类型 Keyboard type
纠错 虚拟QWERTY键盘 the virtual QWERTY keyboard

机身颜色 Colors
纠错黑色 Black

手机尺寸 Phone Size
纠错114×56.6×11.8mm 114 × 56.6 × 11.8mm

手机重量 Phone Weight
纠错 115g 115g

中兴U802 ZTE U802 [extracted on July 11, 2011]
(via Google translate)

ZTE U802 - the overall appearance - sub 1000 yuan -- 11-July-2011Price:
即将上市 [北京] Upcoming [Beijing]
  • 网络模式: GSM,TD-SCDMA Network mode: GSM, TD-SCDMA
  • 外观设计:直板 Design: Straight
  • 主屏尺寸: 2.8英寸 The main screen size: 2.8 inches
  • 触摸屏:支持 Touch screen: Support

中兴U802参数 ZTE U802 parameters [extracted on July 11, 2011]
(via Google translate)

Listing Date
纠错 2011年05月 Correction in May 2011

手机类型 Phone type
纠错 3G手机智能手机 ,电视手机 Correction 3G mobile phones , smart phones, TV mobile phone

外观设计 Design
纠错 直板 Correction straight

主屏尺寸 The main screen size
纠错 2.8英寸 Correction 2.8 inches

触摸屏 Touch Screen
纠错 支持 Error correctionsupport

主屏材质 The main screen material
纠错 TFT Correction TFT

网络模式 Network mode

数据业务 Data services

支持频段 Support band
纠错 2G:GSM 850/900/1800/1900 Correction 2G: GSM 850/900/1800/1900
3G:TD-SCDMA 1880-1920/2010-2025MHz 3G: TD-SCDMA 1880-1920/2010-2025MHz

操作系统 Operating system
纠错 Android OS v2.2 Correction Android OS v2.2

CPU频率 CPU frequency
纠错 624MHz Correction 624MHz

存储卡 Memory card
纠错 MicroSD卡,支持App2SD功能 CorrectionMicroSD card support App2SD function

键盘类型 Keyboard type
纠错 虚拟键盘 Correcting the virtual keyboard

机身颜色 Colors
纠错 黑色 Black

http://shop.zte.com.cn/main/mobile/shop_mob_partinfo.jsp?pid=3427&listName=&catalogId=13381 [extracted on July 11, 2011]
(via Google translate)

130x216ZTE Light Tab T9 ZTE Light Tab T9 2480元 2480 yuan


*7 寸WVGA电容式触摸大屏 7-inch WVGA large capacitive touch screen

*厚仅12.6mm,纤薄便携,质感十足 Thickness of only 12.6mm, slim, portable, full texture

*超长续航能力:21天待机,5.5小时视频播放 Long battery life: 21 days standby and 5.5 hours of video playback

*采用Android 2.2操作平台,支持更多业务应用 Using Android 2.2 platform, support more business applications

*支持中国移动CMMB+MBBMS移动电视,特有智能视频增强技术有效提升画面质量 China Mobile CMMB + MBBMS support mobile TV, unique intelligent video enhancement technology to effectively improve the picture quality

*支持中国移动深度定制的宽带互联网、飞信、音乐随身听*、DM*等增值业务 The depth of customization to support China Mobile’s broadband Internet, flying letters, music player *, DM * and other value-added services

*最高支持32G扩展卡、U盘功能 Up to 32G expansion card, U disk function

*支持WLAN、蓝牙、FM功能 Support for WLAN, Bluetooth, FM function

* 支持重力传感、光敏感应、GPS导航 Support for gravity sensing, light-sensitive sensors, GPS navigation

Andorid2.2 custom blade moving ZTE U880 TD evaluation [June 17, 2011]