Broadcom's Newly Minted Quad-Core HSPA+ Processor Destined for Low Cost Android Handsets

Remember when a dual-core smartphone was the cat's meow? Things are quickly changing, as quad-core handsets are becoming much more commonplace, not just no the high-end, but in budget territory, too. Witness Broadcom, which on Thursday announced a quad-core HSPA+ processor designed for entry-level handsets.

The shift to quad-core computing from top to bottom makes sense now that more than half of all phones shipped around the world are smartphones, a point Broadcom was quick to bring up in its press release. Broadcom's new processor (BCM23550) is based on ARM's Cortex A7 architecture with NEON technology, is clocked at 1.2GHz, and is optimized for Android 4.2 Jelly Bean devices.

Broadcom BCM23550

"Broadcom's new quad-core solution allows OEMs to deliver the multi-tasking, graphics-rich capabilities required in today's smartphones, while still appealing to consumers seeking superior performance at affordable prices," said Rafael Sotomayor, Broadcom Vice President, Product Marketing, Mobile Platform Solutions. "By combining the performance benefits of a quad-core solution with high-end features like 5G WiFi, globally certified NFC technology, and advanced indoor positioning technology, the platform offers device manufacturers a flexible and cost-effective path to address the affordable smartphone segment."

The BCM23550 chip has dual HD display support, allowing users to simultaneously share HD conent from a small handheld screen to a larger, Miracast-enabled display. It also features H.264 Full HD playback, an integrated image signal processor (ISP) with support for up to 12 megapixels, high-performance graphics based on VideoCore IV multimedia technology, and a few other odds and ends.