Often given an enormous share of spotlight are top-tier flagship smartphones, but people often forget that midrange devices are just as crucial to the growth of the Android ecosystem. For one, developing countries are more likely to purchase them than steeply priced top-tier devices, thus enabling Google to cast a wide net and capture a diverse set of people that can use its products and services.
Qualcomm knows that midrange devices are important, too, so it's upgrading last year's Snapdragon 653 and 626 with the Snapdragon 660 and 630, respectively. The new chips will offer more power, features, faster connectivity, and increased battery life and efficiency.
The goal of releasing brand-new chips is to offer more affordable high-quality features for smartphones and tablets, according to Qualcomm.
"Qualcomm Technologies is pumping up its 600-tier mobile processors to include features typically found in higher-tier processors," wrote Qualcomm in a blog post.
The newest chips come packing with the X12 LTE modem, a 600 Mbps modem also found on Verizon and Sprint iPhone variants, in addition to the Snapdragon 820. Bluetooth 5 will now also be a default feature, and the Snapdragon 660 has 2 x 2 MIMO Wi-Fi to boot. The jargon is jarring, that's for sure — but Qualcomm says that basically, these upgrades should make it easier for phones to communicate through brick and concrete walls.
Both platforms will come with Qualcomm's Quick Charge 4 technology, specialized machine learning chips, and crisper photo-processing and camera features. Naturally, Qualcomm also upgraded clock and GPU speeds: the Snapdragon 660 is 20 percent faster than its predecessor, while the Snapdragon 630 is 10 percent faster. They also support the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine SDK, which lets developers tinker around with machine learning and neural networks.
Needless to say, Qualcomm's new chips won't hold out on power. Both chips will support up to a whopping 8 GB of RAM, and the processors were built and designed for the 14-nanometer manufacturing process. The Snapdragon 660 has an eight-core Kyro 260 CPU and an Adreno 512 GPU for graphics, while the 630 packs in eight Cortex A53 cores with an Adreno 508 GPU.
Improved Battery Life And Power Consumption
Nevertheless, battery life is possibly the most important improvement the new chips will bring. Qualcomm notes that users should experience 50 to as much as 75 percent lower battery consumption for a number of location services. What's more, in terms of downloading over Wi-Fi, power consumption is down 60 percent on the 660 against Qualcomm's previous-generation chips.
Qualcomm confirms that the Snapdragon 660 is now shipping, with the Snapdragon 630 slated to ship sometime in May. There's no official word yet on which devices will feature Qualcomm's new processors, but as always, expect due coverage as we learn more.
One thing is for sure though — midrange devices are about to get a lot more powerful, efficient, and capable.
Thoughts about the Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 and 630? Feel free to sound off in the comments section below!