Spreadtrum SC8810 powers ZTE ultra low cost smartphone

All eyes are on Mediatek these days as first phones with their quad core MT6589 solution become available. Although the prices for these devices are dropping rapidly they seldomly go below 800 RMB (99 $US). As this may already sound like rock bottom pricing there still seems to be a market for even lower priced phones. This is where the new ZTE U793 comes in. Priced at 399 RMB (64 $US) it uses the new Spreadtrum SC8810 chipset to redefine the very low end of the smartphone product range.

Of course you can’t expect to get a quad-core monster phone with 5-inch display at this price. What you will get is a true low-end smartphone with a single core 1 GHz processor and a 3.5 inch screen having a 320×480 pixel resolution. You can take pictures with a 2 MP back camera. A true surprise is the specified amount of memory – 2 GB RAM along with 4 GB flash. This is at least on the same level as today’s mid-end smartphones. A little less inspiring is the rather old Android 2.3 Gingerbread OS and the small 1150 mAh battery. If all this sounds like the perfect phone you have always been looking for, please take one note before you go out to buy one. As this pones is produced for China Mobile it will only work with their 3G TD-SCDMA network. Outside China you can only use 2G service.

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The only thing about this phone not making any sense at all is the RAM size of 2GB. Not only does it totally contradict the idea of a low-cost phone, it is also more than the size of 1GB that Spreadtrum has specified for the SC8810 memory interface. Thus either it is a typo in the spec or for some reason this chipset is packaged with 2GB RAM chips.

Spreadtrum is not the first name that springs to mind when talking about Chinese mobile chipset manufacturers. Despite this lack of popularity they managed to be a leading supplier especially for chips that operate on China Mobile’s TD-SCDMA 3G network. Their chips are frequently used by big brands like Samsung and HTC if they need create phones that need TD-SCDMA support. For local Chinese ShanZhai phones Spreadtrum has always been a big name. A few years ago every second copy iPhone of the pre-Android area was based on Spreadtrum chips. But as these phones don’t sell anymore, the new SC8810 is their latest contribution to the smartphone chipset world. It features a single ARM Cortex A5 core along with an ARM Mali 400 GPU.

Feature ZTE U793
Processor Spreadtrum SC8810 single-core 1.0 Ghz ARM Cortex A5
Memory 2 GB RAM, 4 GB Flash, micro SD card slot (max. 32 GB)
Display 3.5 inch screen, 320 x 480 pixel resolution, capacitive touchscreen
2G network GSM
3G network TD-SDCMA
4G network no
SIM dual SIM, dual standby
Wireless connectivity WiFi, Bluetooth
Camera(s) 2 MP rear camera
Sensors Accellerometer, Ambient light, Proximity
OS Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)
Connectors micro USB for charging and data, 3.5mm headphone jack
Keys Power and volume keys,
Battery 1150mAh Li-on battery
Dimensions 114.65 x 62 x 11.8 mm, weight 111g

Sources: mtksj shouji.tenaa.com.cn Spreadtrum

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