Qualcomm targets mid-range and volume smartphones with fresh Snapdragon SoCs

Both platforms based on Kyro semi-custom Arm CPUs

Qualcomm has unveiled fresh smartphone platforms in its widely used Snapdragon mobile line that target the mid-range and mass-volume segments respectively.

The new smartphone SoCs – the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 and Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 – are the latest updates to the company's 600 and 400 series of chips, now rebranded as the 6-Series and 4-Series. This rebrand was hinted at last year when Qualcomm announced that Snapdragon would henceforth be a separate brand.

Both of the new SoC platforms are based on Qualcomm's Kyro semi-custom Arm CPUs, combined with its Adreno GPU design. However, Qualcomm did not detail the mix of cores in the respective platforms: the Snapdragon 8 Gen 1 high-end chip has one high-performance core, three performance cores and four power-efficient cores, for example.

Qualcomm senior director for product management Deepu John said:"Both Snapdragon 6 and Snapdragon 4 provide upgrades in their respective series to enable advancements in capture, connectivity, entertainment, and AI."

With the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1, Qualcomm talked up the imaging capabilities, saying it integrates triple 12-bit image signal processors (ISPs) allowing for capture from three cameras at once and supporting images up to 108 MP.

The chipmaker also states that the Adreno GPU in this SoC delivers up to 35 percent improved graphics rendering performance, compared to the older Snapdragon 695, supporting games at 60+ FPS with High Dynamic Range. Meanwhile, the Kyro CPU is claimed to deliver up to 40 percent improved performance, clocked at up to 2.2GHz.

For connectivity, Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 features the Snapdragon X62 5G Modem-RF System, which is the first in this chip family to support 3GPP Release 16 5G capabilities, Qualcomm said, such as improved MIMO performance and efficiency for up to 2.9 Gbps peak 5G download speeds. It also includes FastConnect 6700 which brings Wi-Fi 6E (802.11ax) support plus Bluetooth 5.2 with dual antennas.

By contrast, Qualcomm claims that the Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 offers "lag-free processing" and multi-day battery life. The SoC in this case is claimed to have up to 15 percent improved CPU performance with its 2.0GHz Kyro CPU and up to 10 percent greater GPU performance compared to the earlier Snapdragon 480 platform.

Connectivity here is provided by the Snapdragon X51 5G Modem-RF System, the same as in the Snapdragon 480. The FastConnect 6200 supports Wi-Fi 5 and Bluetooth 5.2.

Both platforms are also claimed to have improved AI performance for features such as AI-based activity tracking, voice assistants or background noise suppression, but it would presumably be up to individual device makers to support such features.

Devices based on Snapdragon 4 are expected to be available in Q3, which basically means by the end of this month. Devices powered by Snapdragon 6 are expected in Q1 2023.

Motorola (now part of Lenovo) said it intends to ship devices based on Snapdragon 6 Gen 1, while handset maker iQOO said it will deliver smartphones powered by Snapdragon 4 Gen 1. ®

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