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Monday, 06 August 2012 11:11

Chipmakers look to cheap and cheerful phones

Written by Nick Farrell



There is gold at the bottom end


Chipmakers are looking at ways to peddle cheap mobile chips at the the low-end smartphone market. According to the Wall Street Journal. Qualcomm, Intel and MediaTek are slugging it out in the market for low-priced phones, which typically cost less than $200.

This is because the fast-growing market offers high volumes of sales. The three are frantically trying to sign deals with handset vendors in China and other emerging countries to increase their presence. Qualcomm is working with Lenovo  and the two this week introduced a few smartphones that use dual-core Qualcomm chips. While the devices from Qualcomm and Lenovo aren't the first dual-core phones to hit the Chinese market, they are the first from Qualcomm to address the market's low end. Lenovo, which also has introduced a device using Intel chips.

According to ABI Research, cheap smartphones should make up about 42 per cent of global smartphone shipments in 2017, up from about 14 per cent in 2010. By comparison, high-end devices costing more than $400should stay steady at about 23 percent. In China, two-thirds of smartphones fall into the low-end pricing tier and chip makers are offering "reference designs" so that the local industry people can design their own products.

The designs are particularly attractive to low-cost phone makers that may lack the expertise to make smartphones on their own.

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