Qualcomm's 205 Mobile Platform brings 4G connectivity to feature phones

Qualcomm announced last week that it would move away from the Snapdragon branding for its lower-end platforms, and we're now getting a first look at what that entails.

At an event in New Delhi, Qualcomm has introduced its latest product, an entry-level SoC aimed at the feature phone segment in emerging markets. The Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform is designed primarily to bring 4G connectivity to feature phones, with the SoC featuring the X5 Category 4 LTE modem with a download speed of 150Mbps.

Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform

The platform also supports Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.1, VoLTE and VoWIFI, 720p video streaming at 30fps, and an ISP that can handle a front VGA camera and a 3MP rear camera. The chipset offers a dual-core CPU clocked at 1.1GHz and an Adreno 304 GPU, and supports eMMC 4.5 flash storage and LPDDR2/LPDDR3 RAM.

There's also dual-SIM connectivity, support for location services (GPS, GLONASS, and Beidou), and Qualcomm's hardware-based SecureMSM security platform.

Although sub-$100 smartphones have been on the rise in markets like India, there is still a considerable demand for feature phones in the country. The rise of affordable 4G services with the launch of Jio — which offers 1GB a day of LTE data and free calls for just ₹303 ($4.60) a month — has catalysed the entire market, drastically lowering the barrier to entry for 4G.

Jio has been offering its services for absolutely free to its customers for the last seven months, amassing 100 million customers in the process. The "Jio effect," as it's called, has led to incumbents Airtel and Vodafone making their own 4G plans more affordable to stay competitive while improving their quality of service.

Feature phones still account for a majority of handset sales in India.

The proliferation of 4G has also resulted in an increase in sales of 4G-enabled devices, with 70% of devices sold in India in Q3 2016 offering LTE. We've seen phones that offer great value for money in recent months, including the likes of the Xiaomi Redmi 3S and Lenovo's K6 Power. Although these phones cost under $150, their pricing puts them out of reach for millions of Indian customers, and that's where the Qualcomm 205 Mobile Platform comes in.

With the entry-level chipset, Qualcomm is paving the way for sub-$50 feature phones that offer 4G connectivity. Feature phones account for 56% of the handset segment in India, and there's continued demand for phones that offer dual-SIM connectivity and multi-day battery life. By throwing in a Category 4 LTE modem, Qualcomm is now making these devices make the switch from 2G to 4G. In addition to calls, feature phones will now be able to carry out "enhanced experiences" that include mobile payment solutions and access to music and video streaming apps.

Phones powered by the 205 platform will be available sometime next quarter, with Qualcomm partnering with the likes of Jio, Micromax, TCL, and others:

  • Borqs
  • CKT
  • Flex
  • FIH/Megafone
  • HiPad
  • Huiye
  • LYF
  • Micromax
  • Reliance Jio
  • TCL
  • TSM
  • Uniscope
  • Viroyal/Feixun
Harish Jonnalagadda
Senior Editor - Asia

Harish Jonnalagadda is a Senior Editor overseeing Asia at Android Central. He leads the site's coverage of Chinese phone brands, contributing to reviews, features, and buying guides. He also writes about storage servers, audio products, and the semiconductor industry. Contact him on Twitter at @chunkynerd.

  • 3MP is awfully low. They couldnt do 5 or 8? I mean I know its for feature phones but 3MP is really setting the bar low.
  • Wow, complaining about specs on a feature phone. I don't even have the words for how sad that is
  • Yeah because we as customers cant ask for better products. I migbt not use them myself, but i do have family that do, and theres absolutely nothing wrong with demanding for better. You on the other hand are an entitled jerk who think phones and their great features should be limited to the top class. If that was ths case our world would be much less convenient than it is now.
  • I never said anything about the top class, so there's that.
    You seem to to be stuck back in the days of the MP wars and have no understanding that the number of MP in and of itself means practically nothing, especially at that level, so there's that.
    You want to demand better but not pay for it and then you call me entitled. You clearly don't know what that means, so there's that.
    Some of us aren't spoiled and don't need everything to be convenient like you seem to want, so there's that.
    So yeah, I stand by what I said...you're pretty sad.