Qualcomm has really been in the news lately, but for all the wrong reasons. Instead of talking about their new lines of 64-bit chips and how next year's crop of high-end smartphones will be combining their Snapdragon 810's 64-bit technology with the new Android 64-bit 5.0 Lollipop, we are instead wondering if the chips will be ready on time. Persistent rumors of problems and delays are prompting questions of whether there will be major delays for next spring's release of the Samsung Galaxy S6, LG G4 and the HTC One M9. Qualcomm quickly came out with statements that the rumors surrounding the Snapdragon's 810 problems were not true and that they would be on schedule for production.
As quickly as Qualcomm put out that fire, another rumor from China has surfaced concerning a 64-bit chip that is already being used in mid-range type devices launched in limited markets – the Snapdragon 615 used in the HTC Desire 820, the Archos 50 Diamond, the Oppo R5 and the Coolpad F2 LTE. The Snapdragon 615 was announced as the first 64-bit octa-core processor that had 4G LTE capabilities, but so far has been used only in a handful of devices – it could be this why little interest has been shown in the new chip.
The latest rumor from China is that the Snapdragon 615 is experiencing some "design issues," forcing OEMs to stay clear of it and turn to Qualcomm's competitor, MediaTek and its MTK6752, which is also a 64-bit octa-core 4G LTE processor. Even HTC released some HTC Desire 820s with the MediaTek chip in them after the debut model with the Snapdragon 615. The report does not list any specifics about what the problems are, but it could have something to do with Qualcomm abandoning their proprietary Krait cores in favor of ARM's Cortex 64-bit architecture. Qualcomm did this in BOTH their Snapdragon's 615 and 810.
Qualcomm has become a mainstay for high-end SoCs for the past few years, but perhaps, they were not adequately prepared to jump into the 64-bit world. We hope this is not the case as we were looking forward to some really awesome 64-bit smartphones next year that could take full advantage of the new 5.0 Lollipop and all of its features. Qualcomm not only has rumors of problems with their latest chips, but also in the legal arena with China, the U.S. and the European Union. They are even laying off 600 employees, although they claim that is only because they are refocusing their efforts to expand their product line as smartphone sales begin to slow down.