ARM planning for ultra low-cost smartphones

Emerging markets are looking for features without the expense

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ARM believes the real explosion in the smartphone market will be at the lower-end of the spec spectrum.

The strength of sales of phones like the HTC Wildfire and Orange San Francisco have shown the desire for cheaper smartphones in the west, but emerging markets across the globe would benefit from even cheaper fully functioned handsets, according to ARM.

The British company is making sure that it covers all bases in terms of the chip designs that it licences, and it believes that there is a growing need for entry level smartphones for emerging markets.

"Superphone capability increasingly gets all the headlines for the right reasons," said ARM's Laurence Bryant.

"But that means that developing a mass market entry-level smartphone is often overlooked."

European cut-downs

"In the European environment, entry level phones are $200, have 4-inch displays and capacitive screens – they are basically cut-down versions of superphones.

"But when you go into the emerging markets, then there is a desire for low cost smartphones."

Obviously ARM's most high-profile wares end up in flagship superphones like the Samsung Galaxy S3, but the company has covered its bases in terms of what it offers.

"We are successful when our partners are successful," added Bryant. "The royalty business means that we are dependent on their success.

"We'll continue to evolve and engineer new and better processors to take advantage of the newer and better handsets, but remember that as this market gets bigger you end up with a bigger spectrum of price points.

"There is a greater opportunity with more processors for phones at different price points."