Late last night, Qualcomm took to social media to announce a bunch of new products that will be accompanying our 2016 and beyond smart devices. They announced the Snapdragon 617 and 430, new connectivity features that will be coming with the Snapdragon 820, and QuickCharge 3.0.
Snapdragon 617 & 430 SoCs
The Snapdragon 617 is actually going to be the first out of the gate and is planned for smartphones that will be released by the end of this year. Like its 618 and 620 brethren, it employs the X8 LTE capabilities with maximum theoretical downloads of 300Mbps and uploads of 100Mbps. Each also support camera quality reaching as high as 21 Megapixels. The 617 is also going to be an octo-core chip, boasting 8 Cortex A53s, each capable of up to 1.5GHz clock speeds. That’s not incredibly high-end, but it’s not low-end either. I would say this lands more in the higher mid-range.
The Snapdragon 430 is a bump on the 400 series from the 415 and 425 that were announced earlier this year. Though it won’t be available until next year, the new chip will come with support for higher-end cameras and be among the first of a new generation of chips that will come sporting the latest Adreno GPU, the 505.
In addition to the other highlighted features, the 617 and 430 will be the first chips to support Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0. Each also uses the high performance, low power Qualcomm® Hexagon™ DSP, supporting low power sensor and advanced audio.
The most exciting thing about today’s announcements is easily QuickCharge 3.0, which Qualcomm claims is up to 27% faster and 45% more efficient than QuickCharge 2.0. According to their graphic, it will even charge a device from empty to 70% in under 30 minutes by comparison to reaching only 17% using conventional charging.
The technology has the same easy-to-implement design for OEMs as previous versions. It’s 100 percent backward-compatible with Quick Charge 1.0 and Quick Charge 2.0 devices, and it supports a broad range of connectors: Quick Charge 3.0 can be implemented with USB Type-A, USB micro, USB Type-C, or proprietary connectors. Quick Charge 2.0 is supported by a far-reaching assortment of certified accessories, including wall chargers, car chargers, battery packs, and power controllers; next-generation chargers will support Quick Charge 3.0.
Quick Charge 3.0 will be available in some of our newest Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, including the Snapdragon 820, 620, 618, 617, and 430 (two of the processors we announced this week), so you can expect to see it in next year’s round of smartphones and tablets.Qualcomm
“Breakthrough” Connectivity Features
The other bit that was announced was a breakthrough in connectivity technology that will be included in the Snapdragon 820. This is represented by the X12 LTE Modem, which will have the following features:
- LTE Advanced speeds
- Cat 12 (up to 600 Mbps) in the downlink
- Cat 13 (up to 150 Mbps) in the uplink
- Up to 4×4 MIMO on one downlink LTE carrier
- Breakthrough connectivity support in unlicensed spectrum:
- 2×2 MU-MIMO (802.11ac)
- Multi-gigabit 802.11ad
- LTE-U and LTE+Wi-Fi Link Aggregation (LWA)
- Comprehensive service across connection types
- Next Gen HD Voice and Video calling over LTE and Wi-Fi
- Call Continuity across Wi-Fi, LTE, 3G, and 2G
- RF front end innovations
- Advanced Closed Loop Antenna Tuner
- Qualcomm RF360™ front end solution with CA
- Wi-Fi/LTE antenna sharing
These features could mean much better speeds on the go, but it’s probably going to require an improvement in wireless networks to really take advantage of some of these features. However, one particularly interesting spec was the next gen HD voice and video calling features. Qualcomm elaborated on that by saying:
The X12 LTE modem supports next-generation HD Voice over LTE (VoLTE) and Video over LTE (ViLTE) calling services using the IP Multimedia Subsystem, with support for call continuity between LTE and Wi-Fi. Making use of the cognitive capabilities of Qualcomm® Zeroth™, the X12 LTE modem monitors real-time Wi-Fi quality to decide if and when to shift the call from LTE to Wi-Fi or back.Qualcomm
Either way, it looks like next year’s Qualcomm lineup will be far and away a major improvement over this year’s 810 and the heat that it generated.