Broadcom's New BCM2157 Chipset May Bring Sub-$100 Android Smartphones
It's been clear for quite some time that the growth of Android as an operating system was going to continue to explode. We've already written about its expected explosion in the tablet market, and analysts have been projecting continued strength in the smartphone market for months.
But things may be getting even better for consumers in the smartphone market, thanks to the introduction of Broadcom's new chipset, the BCM2157. This new chipset provides the major guts required to build an Android-based 3G phone: a dual core ARM processor, GPS and Bluetooth, plus support for Wifi hot spots, Android 2.2 and up, a 5 MP camera and both HVGA and WQVGA screens. It'll work on AT&T or T-Mobile 3G networks.
So what does that mean to consumers? According to Jim Tran from Broadcom, it means sub-$100 Android handsets. That's out the door cash, people, not with a contract. He's predicting they'll be hitting the market at this price point in the first half on 2011, and CNN's Seth Weintraub suspects that there may be some announced at CES next month.
Tran also says that within the next year, Broadcom will introduce a follow up chipset that will allow production of phones with as much power as today's high-end handsets to be sold in the same $75-$100 price range. Considering the G2 currently sells for $500 without a contract, that's incredibly impressive.
But even if prices don't fall that much, expect some serious pricing pressure to be applied, not only to existing Android handset manufacturers, but to carriers and their data plan pricing.
Whatever happens, between the new Broadcom chip and HTC's announcement that they expect to triple 2010 handset production in 2011, it looks to be an exciting year coming up; you might want to hold off on signing a new two year agreement just now.