Orange leans on in-house smartphone to give LTE a boost

The Gova is powered by a Qualcomm processor developed to cut the cost of 4G smartphones

Orange is hoping its latest branded smartphone, the Gova, will help make its LTE networks more popular.

The operator has had some success with its branded phones -- in 2013 sales grew by 40 percent year on year in Europe, it said without disclosing any numbers.

Now the operator is hoping to build on that progress with a new lineup of devices, including the latest addition, the Android 4.3-based Gova, which was announced Sunday at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

The Gova is compatible with category 4 LTE, which means the maximum theoretical download speed is 150Mbps (bits per second) as long as the network has been upgraded as well.

The smartphone is powered by a 1.2GHz quad-core processor and has a 4.5-inch screen with a 960 x 540 pixel resolution. It also has a 1-megapixel front camera and a 5-megapixel camera on the back. There is 1GB of RAM and 8GB of integrated storage that can be expanded using a MicroSD card slot.

The processor Orange has chosen is the 8926 model of Qualcomm's Snapdragon S400 family. It was launched in June last year with the express purpose of bringing LTE connectivity to entry-level smartphones. By offering a multimode 3G and LTE variant of its Snapdragon 400 quad-core CPUs, Qualcomm is ensuring that emerging regions are equipped and prepared for the imminent transition to 4G, the company said at the time of the launch.

Offering more affordable LTE devices and targeting new segments of the smartphone market is important to Orange. Exact pricing and specific availability will be announced locally, but the Gova will cost less than €240 (US$330) without a contract, according to a spokesman.

The Gova will be available from April in Poland, Spain, Slovakia, and Luxembourg as well as Moldova, Tunisia and Mauritius.

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