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Broadcom lines up quad-core smartphone chipset with 5G Wi-Fi technology

Broadcom has unveiled a new smartphone chipset combining an ARM-based, quad-core central processor and the company's latest VideoCore IV multimedia engine with a wide range of connectivity technologies, including 5G Wi-Fi.

The chip maker is billing its new BCM23550 HSPA+ processor as "a complete, integrated turnkey solution that enables OEMs to expedite production of full-featured, high-performance 3G smartphones while lowering development costs."

Broadcom's BCM23550 platform utilises ARM Cortex A7 CPU cores clocking at 1.2GHz and is optimised for Google's Android 4.2 Jelly Bean mobile operating system, the company said. The BCM23550 is now being sampled out to Broadcom partners and will go into volume production in the third quarter of this year.

The new chipset delivers 21 Mbps of HSPA+ downstream connectivity and 5.8 Mbps of upstream connectivity, provides dual-HD display support with simultaneous 720p output to smartphones and Wi-Fi Miracast-enabled TV screens and other displays, and packs in Broadcom's latest VideoCore IV digital signal processor architecture for multimedia processing that can handle enhanced 3D gaming and "other graphics-rich applications," the company said.

Broadcom is positioning the BCM23550 for "high-performance, entry-level smartphones."

"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," Rafael Sotomayor, vice president of product marketing in Broadcom's Mobile Platform Solutions division, said.

"By combining the performance benefits of a quad-core solution with high-end features like 5G Wi-Fi, 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."

As noted by Sotomayor, in addition to 5G Wi-Fi support, the BCM23550 packs in Broadcom's leading-edge near-field communications (NFC) technology for use with mobile payment systems, while also combining GPS/GLONASS, WLAN, MEMS, and Cell ID "for the best indoor/outdoor location positioning" solutions.

The new chipset also provides H.264 full HD (1080p30) camcorder and video playback, built-in power management technologies to balance performance with battery life, 3G/2G dual SIM-dual standby, a touch-screen controller, and HD voice support. System security protocols are in line with ARM TrustZone and GlobalPlatform standards, Broadcom said.

The BCM23550 platform also incorporates an integrated Image Signal Processor (ISP) to support smartphone camera sensors of up to 12 megapixels "with advanced imaging capabilities such as blink and smile detection, face tracking, red eye reduction, fast shot to shot (burst capture), zero shutter lag, and best picture selection," the company said.

The new chipset is pin-compatible with Broadcom's older dual-core BCM21664T HSPA+ platform, an advantage Broadcom said will help handset makers "leverage existing designs and accelerate time to market."