The top end mobile chips from the likes of Qualcomm, Samsung and MediaTek are often the ones that catch the headlines but these companies' mid-range SoCs are probably be the ones that dominate the device landscape. So for many of us today's announcement by Qualcomm, of a pair of new mid-range SoCs 'pushing the envelope' in multimedia and connectivity, could provide a glance at our next mobile device processor.
The Snapdragon 430 is an octa-core processor using Cortex A53 CPU cores running at up to 1.2GHz. To make up the SoC Qualcomm has combined that CPU with the Adreno 505 GPU which supports Open GL ES3.1, Android Extension Pack, and OpenCL 2.0. There's also the Hexagon 536 DSP and dual image signal processors (ISPs) facilitating cameras with up to 21-megapixels. The chip is equipped with an integrated X6 LTE modem which supports Cat.4 LTE downloads up to 150Mbps and uploads as fast as 75Mbps plus 2x10 carrier aggregation. It would be interesting to see it benchmarked against the current Snapdragon 410 to see the benefit of the extra cores and other changes.
Qualcomm's newly announced Snapdragon 617 will sit alongside the 618 and 620. It uses the same octa-core configuration as the 430 but clocked at up to 1.5GHz. In the Snapdragon 617 SoC this is partnered by the Adreno 405 GPU, the Hexagon 546 DSP and the same dual-ISPs for camera and imaging duties. The X8 LTE modem in the 617 offers Cat.7 download speeds of up to 300Mbps and downloads at up to 100Mbps, plus 2x20 carrier aggregation.
Both the new SoCs support Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0, a next generation fast-charging technology, which was announced just yesterday. It's said to be 4x faster than conventional charging and is backwards compatible with earlier versions and easy to implement for OEMs. Quick Charge 3.0 will be a feature present in the upcoming Snapdragon 820 too.
The Snapdragon 617 will be available in devices before 2015 is over, says Qualcomm. Expect devices packing the Snapdragon 430 from Q2 next year.