Analysts suggest Qualcomm could supply the processor for a low-end Apple iPhone

Fabless chipmaker Qualcomm could be the supplier of processors for a low-end Apple iPhone aimed at emerging markets, according to a leading research firm.

In a research note republished by Forbes, Detwiler Fenton anticipates Qualcomm is working on an ARM-based Snapdragon processor with integrated Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, combining the functions of three chips on Apple’s current iPhone 5 into a single chip in order to save costs.

“It is likely that the work with [Qualcomm] is being driven by AAPL’s concern regarding maintaining gross margins as well as the need to differentiate the product by performance,” Detwiler Fenton says in a research note.

“[Apple] would not want a value priced iPhone to offer the same kind of graphics and video support, processing power etc. that its premium priced device would, therefore a less powerful lower-end Snapdragon integrated solution would help segment the product.

“It’s a strategy that would appear to make sense. Should [Qualcomm] secure a Snapdragon design in a low-end iPhone it would obviously be a huge win as thus far its business with [Apple] has been limited to modem parts only.”

The news comes as Apple looks to switch away from using major rival Samsung as a supplier for its processors.

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