Rumors out of China are suggesting that ZTE, a relatively large figure in the declining smartphone market, is developing its own ARM-based SoC, and will officially announce their creation come next month’s 2013 PT/Expo Comm China.
Little is known about the purported ZTE SoC, which will most likely grace the company’s mobile products (i.e. smartphones & tablets), other than that it will support 4G. ZTE is currently competing with other well-known handset makers like its domestic competitor Huawei and LG from South Korea.
High levels of integration through in-house SoC developments are strategies that have been proven successful by companies like Apple and Samsung. Huawei, too, have mimicked the vertical schematic of production, but thus far the China-based tech company have not been able to take on Samsung and Apple in premium markets like the United States.
Whereas markets like the US are saturated with high-end handsets from Samsung and Apple, developing markets such as South America and India are still viable in terms of consumer adoption of smartphone technology. In these markets, companies like MediaTek are still able grab consumer interests using ARM’s Cortex A7 design, so it’s possible that ZTE will, too, try to improve on ARM’s older design to compete through cost cutting measures.
While it’s understandable that ZTE might out what some may consider as a low-end ARM SoCs, there’s also a possibility that it will surprise some by announcing something that’s a bit more competitive in terms of raw processing power. Developing markets or not, ZTE has to know that eventually consumers in these locations will demand higher standard products once the low-end segments become saturated.