Nokia Looks to Trim Handset Development Costs

Creating a single mobile phone can be an expensive process. With all the research, testing, development, and building, Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK) said it can cost up to $220 million to push out a single handset.

With this in mind, the cell phone manufacturer is backing a process called network on terminal architecture that takes a modular approach to building cell phones. Nokia estimates the NoTA process could eventually cut development time up to two-thirds, and it could cut overall costs by up to 99%.

The company is teaming with NXP Semiconductors N.V. (Nasdaq: NXPI) to bring this process into the mainstream. At its core, NoTA moves the handset creation process from a tightly coupled architecture to one that uses a distributed, modular system.

The phone would not be centered on a single, powerful engine but instead would use a network of subsystems that perform specific tasks like multimedia and connectivity. These modules would communicate with the rest of the architecture via service nodes that would be based on open standards like OpenMax and Open Vg.

"There are several reasons why using a modular approach is a good idea," NXP wrote on its Web site. "It's easy to swap in new hardware and software functions, so developers can upgrade their designs quickly and can introduce a variety of systems that build on the same basic design. Each subsystem can be optimized for peak performance and can be developed separately, without impacting other portions of the design."

The companies said NoTA could lead to faster time to market, higher scalability, and easier integration of new features. There's no indication of how long this process would take to go mainstream, but NoTA is reportedly drawing interest from major Japanese device manufacturers.

— Marin Perez, InformationWeek

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