ARM wants a $100 price point for smartphones and tablets

An ARM executive says he believes $100 price points for both Android smartphones and tablets will be the next big mobile wave.

According to ARM exec Dipesh Patel, cost remains the biggest barrier hindering mass smartphone adoption.

“We need to build smartphones that are more affordable,” Patel told conference attendees at the Common Platform Technology forum last week in a statement quoted by the EETimes.

“Only five of the seven billion people in the world today have cellphones and only one billion are smartphones. Even in the US only 48 per cent of cellphone subscribers use smartphones.”

Patel noted that smartphone use dropped significantly outside of north America and Europe, with only 24 percent of subscribers using smartphones in China, 20 percent in Brazil and four percent in India.

“For many people a $100 smartphone would be means to access Net,” Patel said. “We need the [smartphone] experience we are all accustomed to but in a $100 package.”

Patel also discussed the concept of $100 tablets built around a quad core processor, 7-inch display, 512 MB RAM, 16G flash and 802.11n.

He confirmed that a number of OEMs are already building such low-cost smartphones and tablets, with some choosing older Cortex A5 processors as their silicon of choice to keep costs down.

As we’ve seen before, $99 is the magic price point, at least for entry-level tablets. However, it will probably take some time for specs at that price to catch up to what the market expects and will have to be capable of streaming HD video on a decent display and playing current-gen games.