Not only a few months ago did Qualcomm’s former CTO Anand Chandrasekher publicly state that Apple’s 64-bit A7 SoC was a, "marketing gimmick" and today they are releasing a 64-bit chip of their own in the Snapdragon 410. Sure, the company has since denounced and demoted Chandrasekher from the position of CTO for that (and more reasons), but that will forever stick with the company for as long as we have a memory. Now, putting that aside, the Snapdragon 410 is a very enticing looking chip that could elevate the quality and performance of mainstream and budget smartphones all across the world.
The reason for such a loft statement comes from the Snapdragon 410’s more than impressive feature set. The Snapdragon 410 packs a 28nm quad-core 64-bit processor as well as an Adreno 306 GPU. While we aren’t sure what the Adreno 306 is, I wouldn’t expect it to be much different from the already existent Adreno 305, which already delivers pretty good performance. This CPU appears to be based on ARM’s A53 processor, which would explain the 64-bit capability while still not overly competing with their high-end products like the Snapdragon 600 and 800. It also runs at a much lower clock speed of 1.2 GHz and has support for both 64-bit LPDDR2 and LPDDR3 single channel memory. In addition to the CPU and GPU portions of the SoC, Qualcomm has also included a 9×25-based Cat 4. LTE modem and DC-HSPA+ capability. It will also come with the ability to support Qualcomm’s RF360 radio front-end for those willing to implement it. Additionally, it will support 1080P video playback and up to 13 megapixel camera sensors, which should be more than enough for 90% of consumers today.
Qualcomm states that they expect this SoC to enable highly affordable smartphones at the $150 price bracket in places like China and India and that it’s 64-bit capability enable it to be a somewhat future-friendly architecture. I could easily see this SoC strengthening Qualcomm’s position in the developing markets where price is king and features come second. It will be interesting to see whether or not Qualcomm will be able to encourage enough OEMs to implement RF360 in markets where the devices are strictly regional and most companies’ aspirations are as well.