Qualcomm took the wraps off of the new Snapdragon 730, 730G, and 655 chips that will power midrange smartphones beginning later this year. According to Qualcomm, all three chips will go on sale in mid-2019.
The Snapdragon 730 is perhaps the most important new announcement here. The new chip offers eight Kryo 470 cores, is built on an 8nm process, and has a Hexagon 688 A.I. DSP, a Spectra 350 image signal processor, and more.
The Hexagon line of processors is specifically aimed at artificial intelligence processing. As such, phones that feature the 730 or 730G, with the Hexagon 688, should be able to handle on-device A.I. processing a little faster than other, less expensive chips in Qualcomm’s lineup.
The Snapdragon 730G is perhaps even more interesting than the Snapdragon 730, in that it’s specifically built for mobile gaming, and has an overclocked Adreno 618 GPU to deliver what Qualcomm claims is 25 percent faster graphics rendering. The Snapdragon 730G will also support phones with up to a 1,440p display, which is up from the 1,080p display support on the standard Snapdragon 730. The fact that Qualcomm is building purpose-built chips for gaming phones is interesting, but not all that surprising given the rise of gaming-focused phones over the past few years. It’s certainly possible that we could see more gaming-focused chips from Qualcomm over the next few years. Both the Snapdragon 730 and 730G also feature Qualcomm’s Processor Security technology.
Last but not least is the new Snapdragon 665, which is essentially the follow-up to the Snapdragon 660 from 2017. The Snapdragon 665 is an eight-core chip, which is built on an 11nm process and uses the slightly slower Kryo 260 for its cores, and an Adreno 610 GPU.
The Snapdragon 730 and 730G chips are the newest in Qualcomm’s new 700-series line of processors, designed specifically for “premium midrange” devices that offer features like on-device A.I. and image processing while still offering decent performance. Until now, the Snapdragon 710 was the only chip in the 700 series, and it’s likely that the Snapdragon 710 and 730 will be joined by more chips as time goes on.
We expect to see smartphones featuring the new chips toward the end of the year and the beginning of 2020.