As part of their Mobile World Congress 2018 presentation this morning, Qualcomm is ever so slightly taking the wraps off of a new tier of Snapdragon platform SoCs. Dubbed the Snapdragon 700 Mobile Platform Series, the new tier in the Snapdragon SoC family is meant to better bridge the gap between the existing 600 and 800 series, offering many of the latter’s premium features at a lower price point. However just how well it bridges that gap remains to be seen, as Qualcomm is not announcing any specific processor configurations today, just the existence of the new tier.

Currently Qualcomm’s SoC stack is split between four lines: the non-Snapdragon entry-level 200 series, and then the Snapdragon-branded 400, 600, and 800 series, encompassing the mid-range to performance markets respectively. With the addition of the 700 series, Qualcomm is essentially further sub-dividing the Snapdragon family, carving out a sub-premium brand below the flagship 800 series, but above the current 600 series.

In their short press release, the company is stating that the goal of the new Snapdragon 700 series platforms is to offer the type of premium features found in the 800 series SoCs in a cheaper part for lower-priced devices. The usual price/volume logic aside, Qualcomm’s press release specifically notes the China market as being a focus, which for Qualcomm makes quite a bit of sense given its continued rapid growth and somewhat lower purchasing power parity than the western markets where flagship 800 series-based phones dominate. As for what those features will be, Qualcomm is making special mention of their AI feature suite – the Qualcomm AI Engine – though the underlying CPU/GPU/DSP components are already part of existing 600 series SoCs as well as the 800 series. None the less, it’s clear that Qualcomm is looking to establish a tier of SoCs that are slower, cheaper, but still at or near feature parity with the 800 series.

Unfortunately as Qualcomm isn’t announcing specific SoCs at this time, hard technical details are few. Of the handful of figures included in Qualcomm’s announcement, they compare it at multiple points to the Snapdragon 660, touting 2x the “AI performance” and 30% better power efficiency than the fastest member of Qualcomm’s current 600 series stack. The announcement also notes that the company will be using new architectures for the CPU, GPU, and ISP blocks, so for the new parts we’re expecting to see versions of Qualcomm’s Kryo 385 CPU, Adreno 600 GPU, and Spectra 200 ISP respectively. On which note we’re still waiting for the first Snapdragon 845 devices to ship, but based on our early impressions, the Adreno 600 series GPU architecture in particular has proven quite capable and could turn some heads in a cheaper SoC as well.

With all of that said, while Qualcomm is pitching this as a new product offering, after chatting with our always awesome senior mobile editor Andrei Frumusanu, I suspect what we’re seeing here is not Qualcomm commissioning a fifth line of SoCs, but rather bifurcating the 600 series. Whereas the 800 series has in recent years consisted of just a single current-generation design – i.e. the newly launched Snapdragon 845 – the 600 series has typically offered 2 or 3 different chips, sometimes with widely differing specifications. Case in point, the current Snapdragon 630 is a Cortex-A53 part while the Snapdragon 660 includes a quartet of high-performance Kryo cores. Splitting these into more distinct mid-range and sub-premium tiers would likely help Qualcomm and its partners better differentiate the two and position the 700 series as a more powerful option without having its lower-performing sibling muddle things. So following today’s announcement – and especially the Snapdragon 660 comparisons – I wouldn’t be in any way surprised if the rumored Snapdragon 670 ends up being a 700 series part, while its 640 counterpart remains in the 600 series.

Anyhow, while Qualcomm isn’t talking about a shipping date at this point, they are announcing that commercial sampling for the Snapdragon 700 series will kick off in the first half of this year. So like 2017’s Snapdragon 660 and 630, I would expect that retail devices containing the new SoCs will show up before the end of the year.

Source: Qualcomm

POST A COMMENT

39 Comments

View All Comments

  • Adityaseven7 - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - link

    Mediatek should be ignored by everybody till they stop using entry level gpus in their flagship socs Reply
  • philehidiot - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - link

    Whilst I'm not saying you're wrong (my understanding of what processes in Android use a GPU is too limited to make that determination), there are some people like me who don't game on their phones. I want performance for day to day tasks and I want to be able to edit photos quickly but I'll rarely if ever run a 3D game. Is Mediatek fulfilling this niche in the market or is a decent GPU integral to not bottlenecking other tasks, for example rendering a complex webpage or PDF? I always end up buying a flagship phone because I use the damn thing for almost every part of my life and so it's a good investment but if I could do the same as what I do with a laptop, for example (good CPU, lots of RAM, nice screen, shoddy integrated graphics) and save myself some cash, I'd be pretty happy to do that as long as it didn't compromise other areas of performance.

    Is this reasonable with a phone or am I being old fashioned and looking at functions being split whereas these days general processing tasks suited to use of the GPU architecture will be sent there rather than to the main CPU cores?
    Reply
  • MrSpadge - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - link

    I'm not sure, but to me all this "moar GPU" talk looks like typical geeks chasing higher numbers and maybe games. Even for games I'd question the need for massive GPU power. I've seen statements like "the screen resolution has increased, so we need much more GPU power to push those pixels". Well, with those massive PPI numbers it's impossible to see individual pixels anyway, unless you hold the device 5 cm away from your eye, so why bother putting massive hardware behind "rendering natively" when this is just for some game?

    Build the premium hardware for people who want to game, but don't forget about the ones who don't or who'd be fine with a casual game at reduced resolution.
    Reply
  • serendip - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - link

    Mediatek uses crappy, inefficient GPUs even in their high end chips. Their power efficiency efforts are also way behind Qualcomm. They're also serial GPL violators.

    I'd rather use a clay tablet with a wooden stick than to ever use a Mediatek device again.
    Reply
  • serendip - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - link

    To add salt to the wound, an Anandtech review of the Redmi Note 4 with an X25 showed 20-30% *less* battery life compared to a Note 3 Pro with a Snapdragon 650, with similar performance and using similarly-sized battery packs. HiSilicon has already leapfrogged Mediatek so they're stuck with the low end market. Reply
  • 1_rick - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - link

    "Even for games I'd question the need for massive GPU power."

    Bizarrely, Farmville for mobile requires something like an 800-series GPU or it will intermittently lag badly.
    Reply
  • jabber - Sunday, March 04, 2018 - link

    Yeah I don't care about GPU performance either. If having a lower power GPU gives me another 6 hours battery I'll take it. Gaming on a phone isn't for me. Reply
  • LauRoman - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - link

    There was a split in 600 performance.
    Imagine nvidia 1070 performance (forget any Ti version). If you were forced to, would you lump it with a 1080 or a 1060? Or if already lumped in with a 1060, wouldn't it make sense to split it (if price and performance was already different)?
    Reply
  • levizx - Friday, March 09, 2018 - link

    How is finally making sense garbage? P60 is pure garbage. Cat 7 LTE in 2018? SD450 Could do better. Reply
  • ZolaIII - Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - link

    Earlier this year there whose a rumor of S670 to get a A6xx GPU that's 3/4 sized of a current flagship with 4 A75's and 4 A55's... Now newer leaks suggest S670 will be A6xx GPU half sized from flag one on S845 & 2x A75's 6x A55's. My guess is that QC made renaming & the earlier belief leak supposed to be S670 will indeed be the first representative of the S7xx series. Reply

Log in

Don't have an account? Sign up now