Qualcomm’s New Chip Brings 4G To Bare Bones Feature Phones

Feature phones seem like relics today. Yet they still contribute a significant share to the world market of phones. Poor countries, countries without 3G/4G and readily available Wi-Fi rely on these phones for communication. And even countries that have 4G LTE have a large chunk of the population relying on flip phones and feature phones. Qualcomm has decided to capitalise on this with the 205 platform. These include a SoC that will provide a power and features boost to low-end, budget phones worldwide.

feature phones still command a significant market share in countries like India, Indonesia and the Phillippines

Qualcomm 205 is an entry level platform that is meant to enhance the standard feature phone. It will provide 4G LTE capabilities as well as increased speed, graphics support and dual-SIM support. On board the platform, are a 1.1 GHz CPU, the Adreno GPU and a theoretical download limit of 150 Mbps and an upload limit of 50 Mbps. The platform can support 3 megapixel rear facing cameras, a 480p VGA display at 60 frames per second, web browsing and video streaming. Other features include support for Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Voice over Wifi (VoWifi) and Bluetooth 4.1.

The chip will support a Linux based OS so it should be able to run a less powerful version of Android OS. The chip is pin compatible with the 210, 211 and 212 Qualcomm chips so phone manufacturers can easily incorporate it within existing designs and technology.

Since the platform allows phones to better manage their battery life, they can run longer on a single charge; a bonus for rural areas bereft of round the clock power supplies. Battery estimates are, 45 days of standby time, 20 hours of talk time and 86 hours of music playback. Markets like Brazil, India, Pakistan etc are filled with prospective customers for this technology.

Snapdragon and Qualcomm Mobile

Qualcomm announced recently, that the Snapdragon name will only be used to refer to its high-end, flagship phone chips and the high-volume, low-end processors will come under the Qualcomm Mobile label.

“Our belief is that bringing the 200-level mobile platforms under the new Qualcomm Mobile brand will help differentiate entry-level and high-volume solutions from our flagship and high-end Snapdragon premium mobile experience platforms.”

-Qualcomm Blog Post

Qualcomm also announced that they won’t be calling their chips, ‘processors’ anymore, replacing the word with ‘platforms’. This will include the whole experience of using the phone, i.e, the camera, the battery life, security, connectivity etc.

Phones featuring the Qualcomm Mobile chips including the 205 will be available in the second quarter of 2017.