At the Qualcomm 4G/5G Summit, the company is updating its 2018 processor offering for mid-range phones ($350-$500). As its Snapdragon 675 name indicates, it will occupy the space just below the Snapdragon 700 Series which was announced earlier in the year and aimed at the Premium market ($500-$700).
Snapdragon 675 is the fruit of bringing technology from higher tiers chips into that market segment, namely with increased performance for every aspect of computing and communications.
For example, the Snapdragon 675 ISP unit called Spectra 250L (image signal processor) can handle 48 Megapixel worth of combined cameras information, which can enable better Bokeh, dual-shots, multi-frame noise reduction and a host of other fundamental techniques for excellent photography.
For general purpose computing, there are eight Kyro 460 running at a maximum of 2 GHz. Despite using the same core design, two of them will run at a higher frequency, while the six others will use power more economically. It is a strategy to conserve battery life.
Qualcomm claims a 50% improvement in A.I performance, which is likely due to an increase in the number of computing units in the DSP (digital signal processor), the main workhorse for AI tasks. There is no good benchmark for this, but although important, few people complain about “AI Performance” per se.
Intensive AI is mostly used in the camera app, but as AI spreads into all kinds of tasks, the AI-specific compute units make everything more battery-efficient (vs. the CPU cluster), and that’s the important part. Note that Qualcomm’s AI libraries and drivers are built to run AI tasks on several kinds of compute units, and developers can select the best option for the work at hand.
Perhaps the improved modem is one of the reasons to get a recent mid-range phone as opposed to an older former high-end handset. This is one of the places where progress is made rapidly with average speeds going much higher in recent years.
The Snapdragon 675 chip integrates the Snapdragon X12 modem design which reaches maximum speeds of 600 Mbps, that’s a far cry from the many mid-range phones that max out at 150-300 Mbps. If Qualcomm is shipping in volume now or soon, phones should start being announced as soon as CES 2019, and perhaps be available around February, but it could be even sooner.
For large capacity phones built on this Qualcomm platform, the presence of Quick Charge 4.0 should ensure a speedy charging of ~50 mA/mn or more. That’s more than 2X faster than what the iPhone XS gets out of the box. [Official press release]