Whenever we talk about a quad-core device, we're normally talking about something that comes from HTC, Samsung or LG and they also normally come with a sizable price tag as well. This time around though, we have the opportunity to talk about a quad-core smartphone that doesn't cost all that much and could well signal the beginning of low-cost smartphones for all. Maybe.
The Micromax A116 Canvas HD, aside from having an awful name, is a very affordable smartphone that's just gone on sale in India. India? What do you care about India, right? Stick with me, okay? The Canvas HD is a device that packs a lot into to it and retails for just 13990 rupees, which is about $260. There's a 5-inch 720p display in there, an 8-megapixel camera, 1GB of RAM and that all important quad-core processor. It comes with Android 4.1.2, which isn't the latest and greatest but it does look to be stock Android.
Quad-core isn't everything though, and the processor featured here is the increasingly popular MediaTek MT6589 which is based around the low-power Cortex A7 architecture and it can't hold a candle to the Tegra 3, let alone the Snapdragon S4 Pro but, it should keep up with the dual-core Snapdragon S4 which is inside the Galaxy S III and the One X in the U.S. It looks like MediaTek have basically thrown more cores at the problem of speed, hoping to address it, which for this sort of price, they might well have done.
The real shame of it all is that it is still only available in India, which is one hell of a growing market for Android, and a device like this could do well in the States. We all know that the carriers wouldn't want anything to do with that, would they? The Canvas HD also sold out almost as quick as the Nexus 4 did, selling out in a matter of hours.
It's clear that there is a market for affordable devices, of course they're going to do better in emerging markets like India but, as the Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 have proved, it's not all about premium. They're both well-built devices and the overall experience on them is good, which makes the price inconsequential. No longer are people wanting to pay for a premium, as long as the experience is good.