Chip maker Renesas Mobile has launched the MP5232, a processor that will allow vendors to build LTE (Long Term Evolution) smartphones with a price tag between $150 and $300 (£95-£190), the company said.
The big advantage of the 1.5GHz dual-core processor is that it is a single-wafer product that can do both 3G and LTE, eliminating the need to use separate chipsets for the two technologies. A more integrated device results in a cheaper product that takes up less space and uses less power, according to Malik Saadi, principal analyst at Informa Telecoms and Media.
The cost is important, because for LTE to take off, there is a need for smartphones that cost less than current products, according to Renesas. In addition to smartphones, the MP5232 can also be used to power tablets.
One of the challenges of developing chipsets for LTE is the plethora of frequencies used. Renesas hasn't specified which bands the MP5232 can handle, but says it is designed to support all major operators and their respective requirements.
Samples of the processor will be available during the first quarter, and vendors that choose to use it can have products ready within six to nine months, Renesas said.
Renesas isn't the only company doing integrated chipsets for LTE smartphones. Competitors including Qualcomm and ST-Ericsson are working on similar products, Saadi said.