64 bit chipsets have started making it to mobile devices and we saw it recently on the latest iteration of iPhone. While QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) termed it as a marketing gimmick and said that it won’t offer any benefits to the end user, it was known for a while that they would go down this route. Now they have unveiled a 64 bit chipset for mobile devices which seems quite promising. They are making it available for low price devices.
QUALCOMM, Inc. (NASDAQ:QCOM) new Snapdragon 410 chipset uses 28 nm process technology and 64 bit capable. They allow for high end graphics using the Adreno 306 graphic processor. It supports 1080p video playback and a camera sensor of 13 megapixels. It integrates 4G LTE connectivity and 3G connectivity for most bands being used around the world. It includes support for dual and even triple SIM. They will have multiband and multimode support. It supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and NFC connectivity.
These chipsets are meant to power the mid range smartphones of the near future and as these devices support 4G connectivity, they will do good in the Chinese market where 4G networks are spreading fast. LTE connectivity has seen a sudden ramp in the Chinese market. Fast connectivity is important for improvement in devices and until now 4G networks connectivity was restricted to high end devices only. This chipset will help bring 4G connectivity at affordable prices. It supports GPS, GLONASS and BeiDou for location. BeiDou is a relatively new technology for retrieving location on the device. Multiple sources mean that location services would be fast and precise.
Apart from the popular operating systems already in market, there are various promising operating systems coming into the market soon. Firefox OS is trying to gain popularity in the market and seems to be quite promising. This new Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 chipset supports major operating systems like Android, Windows Phone and also new operating systems like Firefox OS. The sampling of processor will begin in the first half of 2014 and devices will make it to the market in the second half of next year.
Price & Functionalities:
With this new chipset, the devices will have high end features at a price below 150 dollars. Until now it is hard to think of devices that have all these features at a price this low. Until now the hardware of mid range devices want very impressive. Most of these devices didn’t feature 4G connectivity. The camera sensors were also limited by the chipset of devices and mid range devices hardly had cameras above five or eight megapixels. This will allow for better cameras up to 13 megapixels. Video playback was also an issue. Software decoders were able to play full HD videos on many devices but the hardware didn’t allow for that. This limited the video playback capabilities of these devices. This new chipset with Adreno 306 GPU will be able to play full HD videos using the hardware rendering.
Reference Design Program:
They will release the Qualcomm Reference Design version of the Snapdragon 410 soon with support for Qualcomm RF 360 front end solution. The reference design program offers easy customization options. It provides with the QRD global enablement solution which has regional operator requirements, modem configurations, testing and acceptance readiness and access to a number of hardware component vendors and application developers. Until now, there have been more than 350 public QRD based products launched in collaboration with a large number of OEMs in 18 countries.
The launch of Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 will get an edge in developing markets. While in developed countries, most people buy a device from the operator along with an agreement, it isn’t the same in developing countries. Most consumers buy the device unlocked at the full price. In such markets, it is necessary to keep the initial price of the device down. Even in the developed countries, the agreement free cost has started to make a difference as new devices are coming out at a crazy rate and people don’t want to be stuck with a single network locked device for years.
This chipset, as we already said, uses the same 28 nanometer process that Qualcomm uses on Snapdragon 800. It is noteworthy that Snapdragon 800 is the fastest Qualcomm chip yet that has made it to devices in stores. It powers devices like the Xperia Z1, LG G2, Google Nexus 5 and Galaxy Note 3. It can run quad core processor at clock speeds up to 2.3 GHz and has got really powerful Adreno 330 GPU.
A 64 bit chipset would allow for faster data transfers and when the operating systems are customized according to it, they would be very efficient too. Although there are hardly any applications or games right now that are meant to run on a 64 bit system and it would take a while before 64 bit systems become mainstream.
It isn’t very clear that how switching to 64 bit chips would help with performance but there are some benefits that we can see. They would allow for larger amount of memories. While high end devices now have got loads of memory, it might not be good enough very soon as operating systems and applications evolve. These systems would allow for more memory which in turn would increase the capabilities of the system. Also a 64 bit system would be able to handle large applications. While the high end devices can easily run anything that they are supposed to run, 64 bit systems would allow for even better apps to be developed for mobile devices. Soon we might have even better games on our mobile devices and probably memory capacities more than our laptops.
The best part still would be the price of the devices based on Snapdragon 410. As we already said, Qualcomm has claimed that devices running this chipset would retail around 150 dollars. This is really attractive price for a device that is capable of doing so much. We would have to wait till the second half of 2014 for the first devices based on this chipset to come out.