Hot on the heels of a snazzy new CMOS sensor and newfangled plastics, NEC's engineers are cranking out yet another innovation to make our next phone a lot more useful (for a whole lot longer). The M2 system LSI chip can purportedly "drastically cut the energy used by a cellular phone" by halving the energy needed by each element on the chip. Notably, the firm has suggested that a cellphone battery currently lasting seven hours would be able to maintain that life even if "twice the power is required for high-speed telecommunications." A host of sophisticated technologies and software regulations are behind all the energy conserving magic, but the news you care about is that NEC plans to start shipping samples of the ¥5,000 ($41) device in the very near future, and it should hit a variety of 3G handsets by the year's end. [Warning: Read link requires subscription]