Qualcomm at its press conference at Mobile World Congress (2018) on Tuesday launched the Snapdragon 700 Mobile Platform series as its next range of system-on-chip (SoC) for affordable devices. The new Snapdragon range is designed to offer features and performance that were previously exclusive to the premium Snapdragon 800 series. It also includes on-device AI support through the Qualcomm Artificial Intelligence Engine (AIE), which was announced last week and is aimed to accelerate on-device AI-enabled user experiences. The San Diego-based company additionally announced its Snapdragon 5G module solutions and specified its partnership with Asus to integrate the RF Front End (RFFE) modem-to-antenna solution along with the Snapdragon 845 SoC and X20 Gigabit LTE modem into an upcoming premium ZenFone smartphone as well as the new 'Always-Connected' PC models.
The Snapdragon 700 series is touted to deliver two times the AI performance and more than 30 percent power efficiency compared to the last year's Snapdragon 660 SoC. The new architectures under the Snapdragon 700 range offer heterogeneous computing through a combination of a dedicated Hexagon Vector Processor, Adreno Visual Processing subsystem, and Kryo CPU. Specifically to bring AI to a wide range of mobile devices in the future, the Snapdragon 700 series uses the multi-core Qualcomm AI Engine. There is also support for LTE, newer Wi-Fi standards, and Bluetooth v5.
For enhanced image results, the Snapdragon 700 series uses Qualcomm Spectra ISP. The company claims that the new development will also add "professional-grade camera features" to future affordable devices. Additionally, the new SoC series will bring Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+ to the mainstream to offer up to 50 percent of charge on compatible devices in only 15 minutes.
Qualcomm hasn't revealed any details about its OEM partners opting the Snapdragon 700 series. However, the company did mention during its media interaction that the commercial samples of the new SoC range are expected to ship to customers sometime in the first half of this year.
Alongside the Snapdragon 700 series, Qualcomm at its MWC conference revealed the development of new Snapdragon 5G module solutions that will help OEMs enable 5G support on their future mobile devices. The modules are claimed to include more than a thousand components to cover digital, RF, connectivity, and front-end functionality. There are components such as application processor, baseband modem, memory, power management integrated circuit (PMIC), RFFE, antennas, and some passive components to bring a blazing-fast 5G experience ultimately to reality.
Qualcomm believes that the new Snapdragon 5G modules will offer a reduction in the footprint of up to 30 percent compared to designs using discrete components. Moreover, the sampling of the advanced modules is expected in 2019, though you may need to wait for more to experience the next-generation technology on your handheld devices.
Meanwhile, Qualcomm and Asus are jointly working to bring the RFFE modem-to-antenna solution along with the Snapdragon 845 SoC and X20 Gigabit LTE through a new premium smartphone and 'Always Connected Windows 10-based devices. The smartphone is likely to debut at Asus' press conference as the next-generation ZenFone flagship later on Tuesday. Qualcomm stated that by utilising its RFFE suite, Asus will leverage system-level optimisation to deliver high-end connectivity and long battery life.
We spoke about all the big launches of MWC 2018 on Orbital, our weekly technology podcast, which you can subscribe to via Apple Podcasts or RSS, download the episode, or just hit the play button below.