MADISON, Wis. — Shanghai's Spreadtrum Communications Inc. announced this week that the company's single-core WCDMA/HSPA+ smartphone chipset, dubbed SC7710, is now in mass production.
The move to the entry-level WCDMA smartphone market is especially important for Spreadtrum, which has built its success mainly through its TD-SCDMA chips designed into mobile phones used among China Mobile subscribers.
With the new SC7710 chipset, Spreadtrum is hoping to establish itself as a leading chip supplier for low-end smartphones, which many global consumers are expected to buy over the next few years.
The SC7710 supports WCDMA/HSPA+ and EDGE/GPRS/GSM standards, integrating a single-core Cortex-A5 CPU running at speeds up to 1.0GHz and a Mali 400 GPU for high performance graphics. The company says the chipset also supports up to a 5 megapixel camera, 720p video, and display resolution up to WVGA.
Several financial analysts, however, reportedly remain skeptical of the demand for low-end smartphones. They also questioned Spreadtrum's strategy to come to the low-end market so late with a single core product at a time when its competitors, including MediaTek, have been already rolling out not just dual-core and quad-core, but also 8-core solutions for the entry-level smartphones.
For that, Leo Li, CEO of Spreadtrum responded in the last earnings call discussing 2Q13 results:
The low end will continue. And then I think it's -- after October, November, December and moving forward January next year, I definitely see demand will resume for the low-end smartphones in China. Like I said, in emerging markets, low-end demand is very, very, very strong.
…you have to look at what the demands are. And the demand is still both in China and elsewhere, is the lowest-end, lowest-cost of smartphones.