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Here are Qualcomm's new mid-range Snapdragon SoCs and Gigabit LTE modem

By Ian Chee & Koh Wanzi - on 15 Feb 2016, 11:15am

Snapdragon 425, 435, and 625 SoCs

Qualcomm has announced three new mid-range Snapdragon processors and a blazing-fast Gigabit LTE modem in the period leading up to MWC in Barcelona next week. We expect the company to unveil more details about its upcoming flagship Snapdragon 820 SoC then, and this latest announcement appears to lay the groundwork for that key reveal.

The new Snapdragon 425, 435, and 625 SoCs are intended to bring faster LTE speeds, improved performance, and better battery-life to entry-level and mid-range smartphones. All of them utilize Cortex-A53 CPU cores and support features like LTE with carrier aggregation, 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO technology, dual camera image signal processors (ISP), and the Qualcomm Hexagon digital signal processor (DSP) for dedicated multimedia and sensor processing.

Quick Charge, Qualcomm’s own fast-charging technology, is also supported. All three SoCs are pin- and software-compatible with each other, which should lower costs for manufacturers as there’s no need to pursue separate development tracks for entry-level and higher-end devices.

Qualcomm is touting much-improved battery life on the octa-core Snapdragon 625, which it says supports up to 35 percent lower power consumption than its predecessor, the Snapdragon 617. That’s thanks to the fact that this is the first mid-range SoC from Qualcomm to be built on the more efficient 14nm FinFET process, which could make the difference between your phone dying during dinner and it being able to last until you go to bed.

On top of that, the Snapdragon 625 includes an integrated X9 LTE modem with peak upload speeds of up to 150Mbps to support faster sharing of photos and videos. The chip also features an Adreno 506 GPU and support for dual high-resolution cameras (24MP back, 13MP front) and advanced post-processing effects.

The more modest Snapdragon 435 is also an octa-core Cortex A53 model, but it is paired with a slightly weaker Adreno 505 GPU and an X8 LTE modem that offers download speeds of up to 300Mbps and upload speeds up to 100Mbps. It is intended primarily for smooth user interactions at 1080p resolutions, and includes dual ISPs for 21MP photos and support for things like hybrid autofocus.

Finally, the Snapdragon 425 serves as the new entry-point to the Snapdragon 400 series, replacing the older Snapdragon 410 processor found in many low-end smartphones. It features a quad-core Cortex-A53 CPU and Adreno 308 GPU, the latter of which is actually quite a dated part from two generations back and supports up to 720p resolutions at 60fps.

The dual ISPs enable photos up to 16MPs, and the chip features the slowest modem of all the new SoCs – an X6 LTE modem with upload speeds up to 75Mbps. Qualcomm expects the chip to allow for more cost-effective smartphones tailored for China and other emerging markets.

All three SoCs are expected to begin sampling to customers in mid-2016, and to reach commercial devices in the second half of the year.