Android Go phones might not have played out the way we thought they would, but the industry is not giving up on them just yet. A report by Winfuture.destates Qualcomm is working on a dedicated chipset for Android Go phones.
According to the report, the chip by Qualcomm is called QM215 and it might not be part of the Snapdragon family of chips. Instead, Qualcomm will market it as the Qualcomm Mobile 215 platform instead. Notably, Qualcomm already designs chips for feature phones. The company has the Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform that reportedly powers some batches of the JioPhone by Reliance Jio. The chip presently in circulation also supports 4G LTE.
Whatever be the name, the report states the QM215 borrows a lot from the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 and 425. The latter has featured in some Android Go phones in 2018 and is reportedly going to power the upcoming Xiaomi Redmi Go. Based on the report, the QM215 will sport a quad-core CPU, perhaps with Cortex A53 cores clocked at 1.3GHz along with a GPU clocked at 650MHz. So far, it’s not clear whether the chip will be based on the same 28nm platform as the Snapdragon 410 and 425, or something more modern.
Qualcomm is reportedly already testing reference design with the new chipset along with 1 or 2GB RAM and 8 or 16GB storage, which pretty fits every aspect of a Android Go device. Huawei too is apparently working with the company to come out with phones with 720p displays and fingerprint sensors.
So far, the Android Go market hasn’t proved to be as popular as say the budget or the mid-range segment. The program was announced by Google to bridge the gap between cheap feature phones and slightly expensive budget Android phones. Android Go phones come with toned down features that take up less resources, which allows OEMs to price them lower than most entry-level Android phones. However, that has not been the case in India as most Android Go phones that launched breached the Rs 5,000 mark which is essentially the starting point of entry-level budget Android phones.
Furthermore, the entry of Qualcomm itself is an interesting development and shows the company is hungry for a wider user base. So far, the Android Go market has been dominated by MediaTek chipsets. The Taiwan-based chipset maker’s MT6739 was the go-to SoC for Android Go phonemakers in 2018, perhaps for the affordable and turnkey solutions they came with. With Qualcomm now dominating the high-end and flagship range of devices, it’s not surprising to see the company spreading their net wider to capture more market share.