Spreadtrum's new single-core chip could usher an era of dirt-cheap, entry-level smartphones

Spreadtrum's new single-core chip could usher an era of dirt-cheap, entry-level smartphones
Earlier today, Shanghai-based fabless semiconductor manufacturer, Spreadtrum, launched a new generation of single-core chips, built specifically with smartphones in mind. The silicon will come in several versions, compatible with WCDMA, TD-SCDMA, and EDGE networks, and will sport a single frugal ARM Cortex-A7 core, running at speeds of up to 1.2GHz. The processor will be coupled with one of ARM's Mali-400 GPU's, which is actually rather potent, all things considered.

In a world where even dual-core processors are on an extinction path, single-cores sound more than underwhelming. But Spreadtrum might just have a winner on its hand, seeing as it has managed to embed essential connectivity features, such as GPS, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and FM radio into the chip. This allows for the manufacturer to keep costs dirt-cheap, and the chips themselves will likely be extremely affordable. Considering that the high-end smartphone tier is nearing saturation, Spreadtrum's move is not surprising, as its the remaining billions of people that still can't afford a smartphone that companies will be targeting ever more aggressively from now: 

"Our single-core smartphone platform provides a rich user experience to the consumer who is buying a smartphone for the first time," says Dr. Leo Li, chairman and CEO of Spreadtrum Communications. "By integrating connectivity, we are able to bring down the total device cost for our customers which can help further improve end-market retail prices. This can help further open up mass market demand globally."

The press release goes on to cement the notion that Spreadtrum is going after first-time smartphone buyers, citing a study that found that some 500 million people will be purchasing a smartphone in 2014, just in China and India. Of those, the study estimates that 400 million of those will be first-time buyers.

The chip, dubbed SC7715, is sampling already, and it'll offer WCDMA/HSPA+ connectivity and support for cameras up to 5-megapixels, 720p video capture, and display resolutions of up to WVGA (480x800). These are obviously adequate, considering the target group, so it is now just a matter of time until we find out whether this move will draw the rest of the silicon slingers into the open field, competing for ever lower prices. After all, at the rate the industry has been going, it really shouldn't be all that long until $50 smartphones are commoditized.

source: Spreadtrum via DigiTimes

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10 Comments

1. o0Exia0o

Posts: 903; Member since: Feb 01, 2013

Interesting!

2. nlbates66

Posts: 328; Member since: Aug 15, 2012

yea - no.

3. kaikuheadhunterz

Posts: 1157; Member since: Jul 18, 2013

I would want a phone running on this chip. Should be something I can actually afford

4. csoulr666

Posts: 116; Member since: Nov 04, 2013

While this is a good proposition for making dirt cheap phones, I don't see people buying this stuff, since an average consumer goes by the "The more cores the better" principle

5. Doakie

Posts: 2470; Member since: May 06, 2009

Did you even read the article? "500 million people will be purchasing a smartphone in 2014, just in China and India. Of those, the study estimates that 400 million of those will be first-time buyers." This isn't focused on us (USA buyers) who are spec conscious. There is a very large world out there you know...

9. csoulr666

Posts: 116; Member since: Nov 04, 2013

I know about that, I live in India and I know how the people buy phones here. Any one who wants a new phone from a local manufacturer firstly looks for a quad core processor, whatever the make of it is. Which has led to a large boost in smartphone sales. There is still a portion of people who actually don't prefer smartphones yet just because of the fact that they want their phones to just make calls. I'd say it will take atleast 2 or more years till people from rural areas will consider smartphones(atleast in my country)

7. Chris.P

Posts: 567; Member since: Jun 27, 2013

You need to understand that a very big portion of the world still doesn't have access to affordable enough smartphones. I assure you, for them the choice isn't between a single- or a dual-core phone, but between a smartphone or no smartphone. These chips, these kinds of phones, they are not targeted at the US or Europe, nor the richer parts of Asia.

10. csoulr666

Posts: 116; Member since: Nov 04, 2013

I do understand. My focus was oriented towards sub-urban areas, that's where phones with these chips are targeted for. People in rural areas in parts of Asia would still go for feature phones atleast for a few more years in my opinion.

6. Darkerm

Posts: 321; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

this might be good for smart watch

8. Avenger827

Posts: 46; Member since: Jan 19, 2014

Good, finally the people in developed countries will be able to access the online world.

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