U.S.-based semiconductor company Qualcomm is seemingly developing a new chipset for low-end Android smartphones, according to a recent report from German tech blog WinFuture.
The chipset is currently known as the Qualcomm QM215 and the chipmaker is reportedly already testing the hardware in conjunction with several reference smartphones, one of which was manufactured by Huawei. Presumably, the chipset could become Qualcomm's solution for Android Go smartphones.
Given the odd QM215 moniker and the lack of an "S" identification letter, Qualcomm's low-end chipset in question might be released under a different brand than its established Snapdragon series. Nevertheless, the report mentions that the QM215 has some relation with Qualcomm's mid-range Snapdragon 410 and 425 chipsets, in that these aforementioned SoCs might have been used as its foundation.
For reference, the Snapdragon 410 was the chipset manufacturer's first 64-bit mobile SoC and was announced at the end of 2013, whereas the Snapdragon 425 was introduced in 2016. Both chipsets were manufactured using a 28nm LP process but it's unclear whether the same applies to the QM215.
Assuming the information is correct and these two chipsets are being used as the building blocks for the QM215, it's likely that Qualcomm will update the platforms to support newer technologies and standards. Either way, the QM215 reportedly features four CPU cores clocked at up to 1.3Ghz, a graphics chip operating at a maximum frequency of 650MHz, and supports up to 2GB of LPDDR3 RAM.
The report mentions that Qualcomm is testing the chipset with the help or reference smartphones from different OEMs. Huawei's reference design apparently features an LCD display with a HD+ resolution and is equipped with a fingerprint sensor. This biometric authentication method is only supported by the Snapdragon 425 and is missing from the older SD410 solution.
By the sound of it, the Qualcomm QM215 might be the chipmaker's future response to the Android Go platform. Android Go is a stripped-down version of Google's mobile OS, complete with Go applications that have been simplified compared to their full-fledged versions in order to accommodate for the low-end hardware and deliver a relatively smooth experience for the budget sector.
Android Go was introduced alongside Oreo in 2017 and several OEMs so far have taken advantage of it, including HMD Global for the Nokia 1 and Nokia 2.1, as well as Huawei for the 2018 Y3 model.
As yet it's unclear when Qualcomm might plan to unveil the QM215 but given that the chipmaker is already testing the hardware using reference smartphones, there is a possibility that an official announcement could be made later this year. Whenever it may happen, the chipset's debut will likely mark the introduction of new Android Go smartphones from various OEMs who are seemingly collaborating with Qualcomm for the SoC's development.
In the meantime, Qualcomm is now pushing its premium chipset solution – the Snapdragon 855 – into mass production with the help of independent foundry TSMC. The silicon will be used for a wide variety of flagship phones throughout the year, including the upcoming Samsung Galaxy S10 series in some regions, the LG G8 ThinQ, Sony's next premium device, and ZTE's first 5G-enabled flagship among many others.