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Qualcomm, Lenovo Team Up on New Smartphones for China
The Lenovo S686 and A700e are based on Qualcomm’s latest QRD reference design featuring its new Snapdragon S4 processors and target emerging markets transitioning to 3G.
Qualcomm and Lenovo are teaming up on a pair of dual-core, Android-based smartphones for the China market, the two companies announced Friday.
The Lenovo S686 and A700e are based on Qualcomm’s latest QRD reference design featuring its new Snapdragon S4 processors, created by the San Diego, Calif.-based mobile chip maker to “bridge the gap between basic feature phones and higher end smartphones in emerging markets” like China and elsewhere, Qualcomm senior vice president of program management Jeff Lorbeck wrote in blog post.
Qualcomm unveiled its new line of multi-core Snapdragon S4 processors at Computex earlier this year. The company has restructured the Snapdragon product line along four tiers designed for implementation in different types of devices, including everything from forthcoming Windows RT tablets from Microsoft to future smart TVs to high-end smartphones to the gap-bridging handsets Qualcomm is making with partners like Lenovo.
Lorbeck said emerging markets like China and India are on the cusp of the smartphone revolution but a key challenge in meeting rising demand remains getting low-cost, highly functional devices into distribution channels quickly enough to offer a challenging alternative to the ubiquitous feature phones in those markets.
The solution, according to the Qualcomm executive, is to give handset makers like Lenovo and others a ready-made ecosystem that includes “comprehensive handset development platforms” and “access to third-party providers of tested and verified hardware and software components for rapid delivery of commercial high-volume smartphone devices with unique differentiated user experiences.”
Thus was born the Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) program, Lorbeck said.
“As we analyze these regions exploding with potential, we’re faced with a significant challenge. Smartphone demand is high, but the industry has traditionally lacked the capacity to reduce the time to market in a manner that can meet that desire for low-cost, highly functional devices. The result is that OEMs have been unable to maximize output and profit in emerging regions,” he said.
The Lenovo A700e is based on Qualcomm’s QRD8625 reference design and will be sold through China Telecom, while the S686 is based on the chip maker’s QRD8225 reference design and is being made available in the open market. Both are 3G-capable devices designed to transition current feature phone users from 2G-capable devices to the richer user experiences possible on more advanced phones.
The companies did not specify the date the two phones would be made available.
Qualcomm said it has partnered with more than 40 device makers in the QRD program to date, with some 100 devices in the pipeline and 57 already launched.
By Damon Poeter, PCMag