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Qualcomm 205 Trims LTE Cost

April 11, 2017

Author: Linley Gwennap

Qualcomm’s newest processor extends LTE capability to the bottom of its line. The chip, officially called the Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform, features two Cortex-A7 CPUs. Previously, the company’s least-expensive LTE platform was based on the quad-core 210. The new processor is designed for feature phones instead of smartphones and therefore doesn’t use the Snapdragon brand. The chip is already in production, and the first 205-based phones are expected later this quarter.

Qualcomm rolled out the 205 in New Delhi and touted it as designed in India. The LTE Category 4 chip delivers peak speeds of 150Mbps on the downlink and 50Mbps on the uplink as well as voice over LTE (VoLTE) and voice over Wi-Fi. The integrated Wi-Fi baseband handles 802.11n, and the chip also integrates Bluetooth 4.1 and GNSS basebands. As an ultra-low-end processor, it’s limited to three-megapixel cameras and VGA displays. The video engine supports only 480p video capture and 720p video playback, and the GPU is a two-generation-old Adreno 304. The Cortex-A7 CPUs can’t surpass 1.1GHz. The new processor is pin compatible with the 210, so it can use the same boards and support chips, and it’s fully software compatible.

The 205 targets India and other markets that are rapidly modernizing their cellular network to the more spectrally efficient LTE protocol but still require very low-cost phones for many customers. According to IDC, India’s portion of LTE phones, which was only 1% in 2014, will reach 55% this year and 90% by 2020. Across all of Southeast Asia, LTE will be in 74% of all phones by 2020. The fast growth and large population in this region create a huge opportunity to sell low-cost phones. We expect the new processor to appear in models that carry a price of less than 3,000 rupees ($45).

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