Qualcomm has recently announced 4 chips that’s going to use in 2014 (they may still launch new ones towards the end of the year, though): Snapdragon 410, Snapdragon 802, Snapdragon 805, and Snapdragon 602A.
This chip is composed of a 64-bit quad-core 1.2 Ghz Cortex A53 CPU, which is the successor of the quad-core Cortex A7-based Snapdragon 400 (the one we saw in the Moto G last year), an Adreno 306 GPU, which is the successor of Adreno 305, and while the naming may indicate that it’s only 20 percent more powerful, I’m hoping it will be at least 50 percent more powerful.
The chip also comes with integrated LTE which is going to be great for mid-range phones because they will get LTE by default. This year should be the year when the mass market in other countries but US gets LTE phones, too. It should start being available in the second half of this year, so it could arrive in a potential Moto G2.
This one is targeted at TVs, and they say it supports the UHD resolution, although weirdly enough, it seems more like a downgraded Snapdragon 800, with its quad-core 1.8 Ghz CPU and Adreno 330 GPU. It also doesn’t come with support for HEVC at least (if not VP9), so if you’re watching UHD content on the TV, it’s going to have to be encoded in h.264, which seems like a no-go for 4k media, which will require high bandwidth even with better codecs. The chip also comes with support for 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. It will be available early 2014.
This looks like the “high-end” chip offering from Qualcomm for the middle of this year (starting with May), although it won’t be 64-bit. It will be higher clocked than Snapdragon 800 (2.5Ghz vs 2.3Ghz), presumably slightly better IPC (Krait 450), will come with the Adreno 420 GPU (can hardware decode HEVC and up to UHD resolutions), and will also have 802.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0.
As the name implies, it’s basically basically a repackaged Snapdragon 600, which some optimizations to make it more targeted at car manufacturers (such as supporting both Android and QNX). Since it’s a Snapdragon 600, it should score much lower than Nvidia’s own Tegra K1, which will power the cars in the Open Automotive Alliance, especially in GPU performance, where the Nvidia GPU chip should be roughly 4x faster (365 Gflops) than the Adreno 320 here (~90 Gflops). This chips should be available early 2014.
What’s interesting here is that Qualcomm’s chip for TV doesn’t seem to support very well the hottest TVs right now (4k ones), because of lack of support for next-gen codecs (it would be especially foolish to buy such a TV without support for these codecs). Its chip for cars seems to be quite outdated, especially when compared to the competition, and its only 64-bit chip is actually one bought from ARM, rather than a custom core made by them (even though they licensed the ARM8 architecture from ARM years ago).
It seems to me Qualcomm didn’t do their homework very well for this year, and if they don’t have a surprise for us at the end of the year, chips like Nvidia’s Denver and Apple’s A8, should make us forget all about Qualcomm (at least until they come out with something great next year). There’s also Samsung, who’s the wild card, but they may play it safe again, and go with ARM’s own Cortex A57 (which should be competitive, and of course 64-bit, too).