Qualcomm processor opens door for cheaper LTE smartphones

Growing volumes and new components are helping push down the cost

Qualcomm has announced a new processor and modem combination that will open the door for cheaper LTE smartphones.

The chip maker has expanded its Snapdragon 400 family with the introduction of a quad-core processor with multimode 3G and LTE integrated. The processor will be used to power "high-volume smartphones in emerging regions," Qualcomm said at the Computex trade show in Taipei.

Today, users still have to pay a high price to get an LTE smartphone or tablet, but prices are coming down thanks to growing volumes and products like the Snapdragon 400, according to Neil Mawston , executive director at market research company Strategy Analytics.

Qualcomm didn't say what it expects phones powered by the new processor will cost. But it will compete with Nvidia's quad-core Tegra 4i processor, which also has an integrated LTE modem and will be targeted at smartphones with a price tag under US$200, Nvidia said earlier this year.

Mawston expects that wholesale prices for the cheapest LTE smartphones will have dropped to below US$200 by the fourth quarter, and the first products will most likely come from Chinese and Korean vendors.

Besides LTE, the new Snapdragon 400 processor also supports the use of two SIM cards and a feature called QuickCharge, which helps shorten the time it takes to charge a phone, according to Qualcomm.

To help inspire device vendors, Qualcomm will release a reference design based on the Snapdragon 400 processor with integrated multimode 3G and 4G LTE. The processor will start shipping at the end of the year, according to Qualcomm.

Overall LTE smartphone shipments will grow from 90.9 million units in 2012 to 275 million in 2013, according to Strategy Analytics. That growth will be helped by an increasing number of commercial LTE networks. At the beginning of of May there were 175 LTE networks, and that number is expected to grow to 248 by the end of the year, according to the Global Mobile Suppliers Association (GSA).

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

Join the Good Gear Guide newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags computexAndroid OS4gtelecommunicationconsumer electronicssmartphonesAndroidqualcomm

Our Back to Business guide highlights the best products for you to boost your productivity at home, on the road, at the office, or in the classroom.

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Microsoft L5V-00027 Sculpt Ergonomic Keyboard Desktop

Learn more >

Lexar® JumpDrive® S57 USB 3.0 flash drive

Learn more >

Mobile

Lexar® JumpDrive® S45 USB 3.0 flash drive 

Learn more >

Exec

Lexar® JumpDrive® C20c USB Type-C flash drive 

Learn more >

HD Pan/Tilt Wi-Fi Camera with Night Vision NC450

Learn more >

Lexar® Professional 1800x microSDHC™/microSDXC™ UHS-II cards 

Learn more >

Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Headphones

Learn more >

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Most Popular Reviews

Latest News Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Azadeh Williams

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.

Andrew Grant

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.

Ed Dawson

HP OfficeJet Pro 8730

As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.

Michael Hargreaves

Windows 10 for Business / Dell XPS 13

I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.

Aysha Strobbe

Windows 10 / HP Spectre x360

Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!

Mark Escubio

Windows 10 / Lenovo Yoga 910

For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.

Featured Content

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?