Many of the no-name mobile phones sold in China are similar to Apple Inc's "iPhone." We obtained one such handset, "ciphone," and torn it down (See related article).

The product looks like a genuine "iPhone," but it is inferior in functionality and uses many cheap parts. (This article was published on the December 1 issue of Nikkei Electronics.)

The ciphone uses MediaTek Corp's chipset that supports GSM.

"Among the chipsets used in imitation products made in China, the grade of this chipset is low," said one engineer from a parts manufacturer. "The price is probably lower than US$6."

Many of the parts, including the LCD panel and the Li-ion secondary battery, are directly soldered on the main board, probably to reduce the cost, which the engineer estimated at ¥3,000 (approx US$32) to 5,000 per unit.

Click to enlarge. The "ciphone" is mounted with MediaTek Corp's chipset. The parts layout of the ciphone (a). A microSD card slot and a Li-ion secondary battery (probably made in China) are seen inside the chassis. Lexar Media Inc's 2-Gbyte card was inserted in the microSD card slot. Unlike mobile phones sold in Japan, these parts cannot be removed from the outside. Most of the major parts, such as the RF circuit and the baseband processing circuit, are mounted on one side of the main board (b). The names of the parts manufacturers and the usages of the parts were presumed by Nikkei Electronics. (画像のクリックで拡大)