Qualcomm Targets Industry Shortcomings and 5G Adoption with New Processors

October 29, 2021 by Jake Hertz

These new processors aim to bring 5G and performance to mid-tier smartphones.

In today’s smartphone market, a lot of attention is given to top-tier phones. Flagship smartphones like the Samsung Galaxy, iPhone, and Google Pixel tend to get all the investment and acclaim, but the reality is that these phones make up less than half of the total smartphone market.


Share of smartphone models sold in the US.

Share of smartphone models sold in the US. Image used courtesy of Statista


In reality, entry-tier and mid-tier smartphones make up the vast majority of the smartphone market but get little of the focus on hardware development. One company that has provided much of the hardware for the smartphone industry is Qualcomm. 

This week, Qualcomm is shifting focus to the mid and entry-tier smartphones with the release of four new smartphone processors

This article will cover the releases and how Qualcomm is trying to address the shortcomings of the smartphone industry. 


Snapdragon 778G Plus 5G Mobile Platform

The first product announced in this release was the Snapdragon 778G Plus 5G mobile platform. 

A follow-up to the Snapdragon 778G, the 778G Plus was built on a 6nm process and improves processing capabilities by integrating a 2.5G Hz Kryo 670 CPU and an octa-core Adreno 642L GPU. 


The Snapdragon 778G claimed to be a triple threat. The follow-up version of 778G Plus hopes to go beyond that. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm


For connectivity, the processor includes a Snapdragon 5G X53 Modem-RF System which delivers a peak download speed of 3.7 Gbps and peak upload speeds of 1.6 Gbps while supporting mmWave and Sub-6 GHz frequencies. 

Further features include Quick Charge 4+ technology to charge from 0% to 50% in 15 minutes. 


Snapdragon 695 5G Mobile Platform 

Next is the Snapdragon 695 5G mobile platform, which is said to provide “truly global 5G connectivity”. 

Again, compared to its predecessor, the Snapdragon 690, the Snapdragon 695 touts improved processing performance and improved connectivity. Integrating a 2.2 GHz Kryo 660 CPU and an Adreno 619 GPU, the 695 claims a 15% CPU performance increase along with a 30% graphics rendering performance increase. 

With a Snapdragon X51 5G Modem-RF system, the 695 supports both 5G and LTE connectivity, allowing for 5G download speeds of 2.5 Gbps and LTE download speeds of 800 Mbps. Further, a Spectra 346T Triple image signal processor allows for simultaneous capture of three 13 MP photos or videos and low light capture features for improved nighttime imaging. 


Snapdragon 480 Plus 5G Mobile Platform 

The last of the 5G releases from Qualcomm was the 480 Plus 5G mobile platform, which is explicitly meant for entry-tier smartphones. 

Compared to its highly popular predecessor, the 480, the 480 Plus uses the same Kryo 460 CPU but increases frequency to 2.2 GHz. Along with an Adreno 619 GPU, Qualcomm’s proprietary AI Engine, a Triple 12-bit ISPs, and optimized game engines, the 480 is said to have the highest processing capability in its class. 


An example of Qualcomm's AI Engine.

An example of Qualcomm's AI Engine. Image used courtesy of Qualcomm


Built on an 8 nm node, the 480 Plus leverages a Snapdragon X51 5G Modem-RF system to support mmWave, sub-6 GHz, and LTE connectivity. 


Snapdragon 680 4G Mobile Platform 

Finally, the last product announced in this release was the Snapdragon 680 4G mobile platform.

Explicitly focused on bringing power efficiency to 4G devices, the 680 features an Adreno™ 610 GPU and a 2.4 GHz Kryo 265 CPU, which are less performant in exchange for power savings. Altogether, the 680 is said to enable 20% more battery life than its predecessor. 

Built on a 6nm process, the 680 also features Quick Charge 3.0 technology, allowing to recharge a device in a flash up to 80% in 35 minutes. 


Closing Thoughts 

The mid and entry-tier markets are undoubtedly less sexy than top-tier, but they are equally as important. With the majority of the smartphone market existing beneath top-tier, Qualcomm is focusing heavily on supporting these demographics with new and improved hardware.


Featured image used courtesy of Qualcomm and the Verge



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