California-based chipset maker, Qualcomm has unveiled a new chipset which is going to support feature phones and bring 4G connectivity to these low-end, cheap phones in order to cater to markets in developing countries.
Although a majority of mobile phone users go for touchscreen smartphones, a chunk of the population in developing nations are still reliant on cheap feature phones for connectivity.
Qualcomm 205 is a dual-core SoC which clocks at 1.1GHz and supports 4G connectivity on handsets.
“Feature phones are a lifeline in many emerging countries and the Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform allows us to bring 4G connectivity and services to the masses with devices at price points never seen before,” said Kedar Kondap, VP, Product Management, Qualcomm Technologies.
Qualcomm’s lower end 200 series isn’t classified under Snapdragon brand anymore as the company pushes towards providing better connectivity for lower-end, cheap feature phones.
Features of Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform
In addition to the 4G connectivity for feature phones, Qualcomm 205 chipset will provide space for device manufacturers to play a bit with the phone specs as it can support the following:
Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.1 and FM Radio
3MP rear and 3MP front camera
Video capture at 480p, 60FPS
HD video playback
Support for Linux-based OS
“Qualcomm Technologies is committed to the migration of users and networks from 2G, 2.5G and 3G to 4G,” Kondap added.
While Qualcomm’s 205 chipsets can accommodate the aforementioned features on a device, but the end-product actually depends on the manufacturer’s wishes.
With the reprise of Nokia 3310 in the global market by HMD, the nostalgia of using feature phones has received a considerable boost.
In short, Qualcomm is looking to bring some smart features to dumb phones.
Although most of the metropolitan phone users usually own a feature phone as a secondary device, if at all, these cheap phones register almost 1/3rd or more sales in developing nations in Latin America, Indian subcontinent and South-east Asia.
The company has also unveiled that the feature phones powered by Qualcomm 205 chipsets will have 45 days of standby time, more than 20 hours of voice calling, 86 hours of music playback and 68 hours of FM playback — the kind of battery all smartphone users yearn for.
A fully-powered feature phone on the 205 chipsets will be able to capture images at 3MP, record videos at 480p, stream videos at 720p, connect to 4G spectrum for internet access, share files via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth, support VoWiFi (Voice over Wi-Fi) and play your favourite MP3 tracks too.
The mobile platform from Qualcomm isn’t going to be their primary focus by a long shot as even though there is still a significant amount of sales that the feature phone market is going to see, smartphones are undoubtedly going to overtake this market eventually.
Currently, Micromax and Reliance are working on a 4G-enabled feature phone for the Indian market which will cost below Rs.1500. Feature phones with Qualcomm 205 chipset are expected to start shipping by the second quarter of 2017.