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The Next Mobile Killer App

Anders Bylund
February 18, 2009

The mobile market is the greatest growth story ever told. Now Texas Instruments (NYSE: TXN  ) wants to write the next chapter.

The story so far
Over the last decade or so, cell phones grew from a yuppie luxury to an everyday necessity. Mobile mavens such as Nokia (NYSE: NOK  ) shipped 1.2 billion handsets last year. Compare that to 1997, when a puny global market supported just 107 million brick-like dinosaur phones.

As the market grew, the devices improved -- and formerly super-fancy features morphed into must-haves. The 4 million cameraphones in 2001 ballooned into more than 700 million in 2007, and it's getting harder and harder to find a simple non-camera phone these days. Smartphones started out as Palm (Nasdaq: PALM  ) PDAs (remember those?) and early Research In Motion (Nasdaq: RIMM  ) BlackBerrys, but after the runaway success of Apple's (Nasdaq: AAPL  ) iPhone, every handset designer wants to build one, and untold millions of consumers want 'em.

Chapter and verse
And that's where TI comes in. The markets for standard