About a week ago, Broadcomm announced their latest concoction — the BCM2157. With this chip, manufacturers can add a shell, a screen, and some memory and have a pre-built Android phone. Goodbye steep engineering costs, hello dual-core, low power, turnkey solutions. The news is pretty exciting for geeky folks like we are (and be sure to check out the source links for the technical details), but what exactly does this mean for everyone else? If you think like Seth Weintraub at CNNMoney.com, you reach the logical conclusion — Android is poised to take the entire feature phone / low-end smartphone market away from Nokia with an army of sub-hundred dollar handsets. Not $100 after contract and rebates, but a hundred bucks out the door, with no strings attached. This is what Google VP of Engineering and Android head honcho Andy Rubin has referred to as “a perfect storm”.
The idea isn’t that far-fetched. You can already pick up a pretty feature-rich handset for $180.00 — the Virgin Mobile branded Samsung Intercept. Halve the cost of the internals, practically do away with the cost of designing a working system, and the magical $100 Android phone certainly sounds like it’s coming. And while some of us will turn up our nose at another round of entry level devices, one particular group surely won’t — Android application developers. When Android device sales creep up on the billion served mark, the Android Market will literally explode as software developers, both large and small, grab their slice of the pie. I, for one, can’t wait. [CNNMoney.com; Broadcomm]