One of the trade offs we're often forced to make with budget smartphones is LTE. Given we're still relatively early on in the deployment of LTE technology, this isn't such a huge deal. However, Broadcom is hoping to bring LTE to budget phones with the introduction of a new turnkey reference platform that utilizes the company's own pin-to-pin compatible dual-core M320 system on chip. It will also support Broadcom's upcoming quad-core M340 LTE SoC when it becomes available.
The platform is pre-integrated with the latest version of Android (KitKat) and promises to enable 150 Mbps speeds with DC-HSPA+ 3G and GSM/EDGE as well as 5G WiFi, Bluetooth Smart and NFC while reducing engineering costs for manufacturers.
Broadcom didn't offer much information about when we can expect devices based on this reference platform to hit shelves, but the company will be at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month, so we'll be sure to stop by and check out the devices it has on hand at the show.
Developments like this one have the potential to boost the profile and appeal of lower-end smartphones in markets where high-end smartphones are already very popular. As 4G LTE continues to gain prominence, customers are more likely to see 4G LTE as a 'must have' feature. No one wants to compromise on connectivity. If a lower end smartphone is deemed 'slower' due to its cellular radio, it could deter a customer who would otherwise be happy with the features of a lower end phone.