Broadcom, one of the chip makers you don’t hear about all too often, has just announced three new products. Starting with the slowest one, the BCM21654G, it has a 1 GHz ARM Cortex A9, it can support 800 x 480 pixel displays, and it has built-in 7.2 megabit per second 3G. Next up is the dual core BCM21664T. It bumps up the clocks to 1.2 GHZ, and the 3G gets kicked up to 21 megabits per second. Finally there’s the quad core model, the BCM28145/155, which is a bit strange. The company says it’s a 2+2 chip, meaning it has two blocks of processors, with each block containing two ARM Cortex A9 processors. Trust us, we’re just as confused as you are. This mysterious chip can also only handle 21 megabit per second 3G connectivity.
Should any of these new products excite you? Not really. For one thing, they all use 40 nanometer technology. These days, if you’re not using 32 nanometer or 28 nanometer technology, then you’re out of touch. Second, 21 megabit 3G? Really? That may be fine in Europe, but just barely. Again, these days people expect either 4G LTE or 42 megabit per second HSPA+. And finally third, these chips are going to take a quarter or two to end up in retail devices. By then the smartphones of H1 2012 are going to be that much more affordable. Take the Galaxy S II for example, you can buy one brand new for 350 EUR today.
We’re not saying companies shouldn’t try to make chips for budget handsets, because that’s the part of the market that’s expected to explode over the next two years, but come on, give us something to chew on! Qualcomm’s got the S4 Play, Samsung has the dual core Exynos, and hell, even ST-Ericsson’s dual core NovaThor platform that Sony is using is more compelling than these new Broadcom chips.