Broadcom is set to join Qualcomm and MediaTek in offering a low-cost SoC that comes with LTE connectivity.
As LTE networks go live in China and India, more and more manufacturers are getting on the LTE bandwagon. Considering that the $150 – $300 segment is the one with the fastest growth as far as mobiles are concerned, it makes sense to build hardware for this segment that offers features that were previously limited to the mid-tier and high-end segments.
This is what Broadcom is aiming to do with the new turnkey reference platform. The manufacturer is initially offering two new offerings, the dual-core M320 and the quad-core M340 SoC. Broadcom mentions that handsets featuring either SoC would be available for under $300, which is great considering these SoCs come with an LTE Category 4 modem. In addition, the modem works with both FDD-LTE and TD-LTE networks. The fact that both China and India use the TD-LTE standard gives local handset vendors the ability to leverage Broadcom’s offerings in their budget devices. Also, the turnkey platform is pre-integrated with the latest version of Android 4.4 KitKat, which should make integrating device drives all the more easier.
The SoCs also feature NFC, DC-HSPA+ 3G, GSM/EDGE, Bluetooth Smart and fifth generation Wi-Fi connectivity. Broadcom has announced that the dual-core M320 is being sent out to manufacturers, and that devices featuring this SoC would be available soon. It will be demoing the dual-core M320 and the quad-core M340 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona later this month, during which time it will divulge further details.
Qualcomm and MediaTek are also set to launch similar LTE-enabled low-cost hardware for emerging markets, so it should be interesting to see how Broadcom fares in this segment. Before Qualcomm established a stronghold over the mobile SoC market, Broadcom’s hardware was widely used by the likes of Samsung. Whether the manufacturer can effectively challenge Qualcomm this year remains to be seen.