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New Qualcomm Chips Boost Lower-Cost Mobile Device Performance
By Shirley Siluk
Posted: May 9, 2017 10:15am PDT

The two new chips also feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem, which supports download speeds of up to 600Mbps -- "a first for 600-tier processors," Gordon noted.

Two new chip platforms coming out from Qualcomm Technologies will deliver a variety of improved performance features previously offered only by higher-end processors, the company said yesterday.

The Snapdragon 630 and 660 mobile chip platforms are designed to provide better photo and video quality, faster LTE connections, more machine learning capabilities and faster charging, among other improvements, according to Qualcomm. Both will also provide device support for advanced security features such as fingerprint scanning and facial recognition.

These and other capabilities will enable "more affordable high-quality features for more smartphones and tablets, with little compromise on power," staff manager for product marketing Geoff Gordon wrote yesterday in a blog post. Both of the new chips, "include features typically found in higher-tier processors," he said.

Boosts to Camera, CPU, GPU, More

Qualcomm said the Snapdragon 630 and 660 deliver improvements in seven key areas: camera, audio/visual processing, connectivity, CPU/GPU performance, battery charging, security and machine learning.

Both chips, for example, come with the 14-bit Qualcomm Spectra 160 ISP (image signal processor) to allow cameras to capture "up to 24 megapixels single ISP images with zero shutter lag," Gordon said. The new processors also provide integrated 4K video capture and playback, allowing users to record high-definition videos at 30 frames per second. he said.

Shipping now, the Snapdragon 660 supports dual cameras of up to 16 megapixels each. A successor to the Snapdragon 653 chip, it's also built for better gaming and multimedia experiences as it improves CPU performance by 20 percent and GPU performance by 30 percent, Qualcomm said.

The Snapdragon 630, which succeeds the Snapdragon 625 and is set to come out toward the end of this month, will support two 13-megapixel cameras per device. The Snapdragon 630 improves GPU performance by 30 percent and CPU performance by 10 percent, according to Qualcomm.

Neural Processing for Immersive Experiences

Both the Snapdragon 630 and 660 use the Snapdragon Neural Processing Engine SDK, which will give developers new flexibility when creating immersive user experiences, Gordon said.

"They can create a feature or an application that uses deep neural networks to improve the performance of a particular task, like scene classification, facial recognition and object tracking, voice and language detection, and filtering out background noise," he said.

The two new chips also feature the Qualcomm Snapdragon X12 LTE modem, which supports download speeds of up to 600Mbps -- "a first for 600-tier processors," Gordon noted.

Built with Qualcomm Quick Charge 4, the Snapdragon 630 and 660 also improve charging speed by 20 percent while boosting efficiency by 30 percent. Devices using these chips will have enough power for five hours of talking time after five minutes of charging, while 15 minutes of charging will bring the battery up to 50 percent.

Both processors also feature Qualcomm All-Ways Aware technology, a sensor hub designed for efficient battery use that also enables location tracking, motion sensing and behavioral predictions.

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