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New Snapdragon 210 processor to power cheap 4G LTE smartphones next year

Processor manufacturer Qualcomm’s newly announced Snapdragon 210 chip aims to bring 4G LTE connectivity to even the most basic smartphones in the very near future. Smartphones with 4G LTE connectivity are steadily coming down in price, and the feature is no longer only found on top-of-the-range hardware, but this chip could find its way into devices costing around $100. What’s more, Qualcomm has been using the Snapdragon 210 processor in reference design tablets too.

On the technical side, the Snapdragon 210 is a 1.1GHz quad-core chip which uses the Adreno 304 graphics processor, and is also equipped with Qualcomm’s Quick Charge 2.0 system for fast battery recharging. It’ll handle cameras with up to 8 megapixels and an HDR mode. For 4G, the 210 will take on Cat 4 LTE, in both single and dual-SIM configurations. What’s not known is whether the 210 is a 64-bit chip, like the Snapdragon 410.

While mobile buyers in the U.S. and the UK are spoiled for choice when it comes to smartphones with 4G LTE, those in developing markets, where 4G is only just coming online, aren’t quite so lucky. The Snapdragon 210 could change this, helping to increase adoption of new, faster networks with sensibly priced phones. In India, where 4G LTE is in its early stages, local manufacturer Micromax is reportedly already planning a phone using the chip, ready for wider 4G connectivity next year.

Micromax may not sell smartphones internationally, but companies such as Microsoft, ZTE, and Huawei could use the 210 to spice up entry-level phones currently only offering 3G data speeds. The existing Snapdragon 200 chip is used in smartphones such as the Motorola Moto E and the Sony Xperia E1, both sold for around $100 to $130. Because Qualcomm has made the chip for both smartphones and tablets, reasonably priced 4G slates could become more common in the future too.

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 210 chip will be ready for manufacturers to use during the first half of next year.