Qualcomm targets ‘premium midrange’ phones with the Snapdragon 710

Qualcomm wants to make midrange phones a little more high tech. The company announced the creation of the 700-series earlier this year and now it’s unveiling the first chip in that new series — the Qualcomm Snapdragon 710.

The Snapdragon 710 is a whole lot more than just a slightly more powerful 600-series chip. It’s aimed at bringing some of the features from the 800 series — like improved security and artificial intelligence — to a cheaper chip that could make its way to some of the so-called “premium midrange” phones to be launched this year.

The Qualcomm 710 represents a number of “firsts” for Qualcomm, outside of the 800-series. Apart from the Snapdragon 845, it’s the first chip to be built on the 110-nanometer process. It also features a third-generation Kryo CPU and an Adreno 6-series GPU.

Under the hood, the Snapdragon 710 represents a modest performance boost over the current 600-series flagship, the Snapdragon 660. According to Qualcomm, with the Kryo 360 CPU, the chip offers a performance boost of up to 20 percent compared to the Snapdragon 660, while saving up to 40 percent of power during 4K video playback and mobile gaming. That is pretty impressive for a so-called midrange chip.

There are other things that make the chip decidedly better than the Snapdragon 660 too. For example, the chip boasts a Spectra 250 image signal processor, which is aimed at reducing image noise, image stabilization, and even performing active depth sensing — a feature that may lead to more secure facial recognition on midrange phones. The Spectra 250 ISP supports single-sensor cameras up to 32 megapixels, and dual-sensor cameras up to 20 megapixels.

Of course, none of this really matters if the chip doesn’t make its way into real-world phones — and while we’re certain it will, no phones using the tech have been announced just yet. Still, Qualcomm says it’s working with partners on deploying the new processor, and we expect to see phones announced with the new chip over the next few months, if not sooner.

The release of the Snapdragon 710 highlights the rise of the all-important “premium midrange” phone. As flagship phones, like the iPhone X, get more expensive, customers are looking for devices that offer flagship features at a lower price. That is likely where phones with the Snapdragon 710 will come in.

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