Chinese handset makers say quad core phones will drop to sub $100 this year

January 24, 2013
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Remember when LG announced the Optimus 4X HD, the “world’s first” quad core smartphone? That was back in February 2012 at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. Over the next few months we saw several other quad core devices get unveiled, namely HTC’s One X, Samsung’s Galaxy S3, the second generation Note, and so on and so forth. Those phones are all considered “high end”, meaning they cost over 500 EUR.

According to a report on DigiTimes, next month, during the Chinese New Year, we’re going to see a ton of quad core phones that cost less than $250 hit the market. The piece goes on to say that by the end of this year, several Chinese handset makers are predicting that quad core phones will cost less than $100.

What kind of chips will be powering these budget quad core devices? A majority of them will be using MediaTek’s MT6589. That chip in particular uses four ARM Cortex A7 cores. We’ve already seen a few benchmarks, courtesy of Engadget, and it looks like MediaTek’s quad core solution is barely faster than a dual core Snapdragon S4. Is that such a bad thing though? People will see the word “quad core” on the box and think they’re getting something high end, but in reality they’ll be buying a device that’s about as fast as some of the best phones from the past 12 months. The American HTC One X for example, that had a dual core S4.

Will these kind of devices ever land on American shores? We’ll just be blunt and say no. The American market depends on subsidies to work. In other words, most people really think that their $199 iPhone 5 is really just $199 when it’s actually more than triple the cost. There’s no room for “budget” phones.

That being said, maybe these devices will hit Europe? The prepaid market is strong there.

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