Is Itel gradually ditching Spreadtrum for Mediatek chips? The Itel S11, it1513 and S31 could hold answers

Between the last quarter of 2016 till date, Itel has so far introduced three Android 6 (Marshmallow) devices, the Itel S11, Itel it1513 and the Itel S31. Recall that I had dropped a review of the Itel 1t1513 and the Itel S11 specifications. I will take a closer look at the S11 and S31 soon.

A quick comparison of these three devcies

Model Chipset RAM (GB) ROM (GB) Battery (mAh)
Itel S11 MT6580M 1 8 2400
Itel it1513 SC7731c 1 8 2100
Itel S31 MT6580W 1 16 2400

Outside the above comparison, its important you note that:

  • None has 4G LTE support
  • Primary camera doesn’t exceed 5.0 MP
  • Screen size ranges from 5.0″ to 5.5″

Considering the Price:Specs ratio, Itel phones deliver low-end to moderate specs at affordable prices. This makes Itel fill a critical void for those who want the Android experience but are on a tight budget.

The above comparison table shows that there’s been no notable change (outside the recent Android version and Chipset) in specs. A look at the specs of the Itel it1516 Plus and it1556 further buttresses this point. The question then is, Why did Itel chose Mediatek over the usual Spreadtrum on the Itel S11 and S31?

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To better understand and answer this, we’ll need to bring Spreadtrum, Mediatek and Qualcomm into this discussion. Generally speaking, phones powered by Qualcomm chips tend to cost the most (of the three), followed by Mediatek and then Spreadtrum. This is the primary reason Apple and Qualcomm are presently in a hot exchange of words and a legal battle, with Apple accusing Qualcomm of exorbitant pricing (of its chips). If Spreadtrum is looking to pack more power in its phones then why retain the same specs and only change chip?

Could Itel be eyeing the Development support MTK phones enjoy?

The closest we could get to a level playing field here is to look at Infiix, Tecno and Itel. Of the three, Infinix enjoys the most Dev support and I find Infinix users more exposed (Development-Wise) than Tecno and Itel users. This isn’t to say there aren’t talented Developers who have and are creating Mods for Tecno and Itel phones (Team Hovatek covers all three), I’m focusing on those who use the Mods here. It is noteworthy that all the Dev work you’re seeing on these three brands is with little to no support from the brands so you can image the hard work involved. If Dev support is the reason then I don’t see much changing. We developers would naturally gravitate towards brands that support Development and Itel doesn’t strike me as a brand that would.

Is Itel looking for more stability / power at low prices

With Mediatek, better stability and power, Yes; Lower prices….Hold it! Mediatek has gone really far, its not the ‘chinko’ chip you used to know. If Itel is looking to secure the low-end market then going Mediatek would be taking this brand more mid-range than low-end, this isn’t necessarily a bad thing though. I think Itel should instead consider throwing in some Spreadtrum SC9**** chip powered phones which have 4G LTE support. They should also consider increasing the RAM to 2GB and giving more decent battery like 3000mAh and above. With these specs, I believe you can produce affordable low-end and mid-range phones.

I think the Spreadtrum chipset is very promising for the low-end to mid-range market. Samsung used this chip on its J2 and J3 (2106) phones. For whatever reason Itel has chosen to test the Mediatek waters, I can only wish them the best because there will be many ‘Big Boys’ to contend with once they make the switch to Mediatek.

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