Qualcomm Announces Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform, Snapdragon Wear 1200, and Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors
At Mobile World Congress Shanghai 2017, Qualcomm took the wraps off the Snapdragon 450 Mobile Platform, its latest lower-mid-range SoC. The new chipset brings number of improvements over its predecessor including an updated GPU, improved camera performance as well as faster modem.
Unlike the Snapdragon 435, which was an incremental update over the Snapdragon 430, the Snapdragon 450 brings some much-needed improvements in key areas. With the Snapdragon 450, Qualcomm has finally brought the 14nm fabrication process to its mid-range SoC as well. We have already seen benefits of switching to the 14nm process in the chips like Snapdragon 625/626 and we can’t wait to see the improvements it will bring to the battery life on lower-mid range smartphones.
The Snapdragon 450 uses the same octa-core ARM Cortex-A53 implementation as the Snapdragon 435, with all eight A53 cores clocked at the 1.8GHz frequency. Qualcomm claims up to 25 percent increase in both CPU and GPU performance in the Snapdragon 450 compared to its predecessor. The gain in CPU performance comes in part from the bump in clock speed — 1.8GHz compared to the previous 1.4GHz. Despite the higher clock speed, the Snapdragon 450 still promises “up to four hours” of additional usage time over its predecessor, thanks to its much more efficient 14nm process.
|SoC||Snapdragon 450||Snapdragon 435||Snapdragon 625|
|CPU||4x A53 @ 1.8GHz|
4x A53 @ 1.8GHz
|4x A53 @ 1.4GHz|
4x A53 @ 1.4GHz
|4x A53 @ 2.0GHz|
4x A53 @ 2.0GHz
|GPU||Adreno 506||Adreno 505||Adreno 506|
H.264 & HEVC
H.264 & HEVC
H.264 & HEVC
|Camera & ISP||Dual ISP 13MP + 13MP (dual)|
13MP + 13MP (dual)
8MP + 8MP (dual)
|Modem||X9 LTE Cat. 7 300Mbps DL, 150Mbps UL||X9LTE Cat.7 300Mbps DL 100Mbps UL||X9 LTE Cat. 7 300Mbps DL 150Mbps UL|
|USB||USB 3.0 w/ QuickCharge 3.0||USB 2.0 w/ QuickCharge 3.0||USB 3.0 w/ QuickCharge 3.0|
|Fabrication Process||14nm||28nm LP||14nm|
The GPU on the Snapdragon 450 also sees an update in the form of Adreno 506, with the company claiming up to 25 percent faster graphics rendering over the Snapdragon 435’s Adreno 505 GPU.
The Snapdragon 450 brings big improvements to the camera department as well. It now supports real-time Bokeh effects and also includes Qualcomm Hexagon DSP, which brings improved multimedia, camera and sensor processing while still using low power. Similar to its predecessor, the Snapdragon 450 supports a single camera up to 21MP. However, when used in dual camera setup, it can now handle 13MP + 13MP sensors, a jump from the Snapdragon 435’s 8MP + 8MP support. Finally, the video processor has also been improved and as a result, the Snapdragon 450 can now capture and playback video at up to 1080p60, up from 1080p30 on the Snapdragon 435. It’s nice to see that these features are making their way “downstream”, but that’s not all:
The Snapdragon 450 supports Quick Charge 3.0, which the company claims can charge a device from zero to 80 percent in just 35 minutes — though “can” if quite different from “will”, as the implementations we see fall short of that metric. The chipset also brings the support for the USB 3.0 standard, which in turn should dramatically speed up data transfer compared to Snapdragon 450 devices, should OEMs implement this feature properly.
As for connectivity, the Snapdragon 450 uses the same X9 LTE modem as its predecessor but it can now hit much faster upload speeds. The Snapdragon 450 includes X9 LTE modem and supports LTE Category 7 and Category 13 speeds of up to 300 Mbps and 150 Mbps for download and upload, respectively.
Qualcomm plans to begin commercial sampling of the Snapdragon in Q3 of this year, with the chip expected to arrive in devices by the end of 2017.
Snapdragon Wear 1200
Qualcomm announced a new wearable chipset called Snapdragon Wear 1200 at MWC Shanghai, which the company claims will help manufacturers build ultra-low-power wearable devices.
Qualcomm says the Wear 1200 will enable manufacturers to scale their devices for a whole new range of use cases as the new chip offers great efficiency and robust connectivity features. The goal with the Wear 1200 is to build wearables that are highly-efficient, always connected and cost-efficient, but not the most powerful.
The Snapdragon Wear 1200 comes with a single core ARM Cortex A7 single-core 1.3 GHz CPU, paired with a simple display controller. The main highlight of the Snapdragon Wear 1200, however, is its new modem which adds support for LTE Category M1 and Category NB1. The new modem enables support for ultra-low-power communication modes over above-mentioned LTE standards and it’s also the first to bring the support for 3GPP’s Low Power WAN technologies.
On the connectivity front, the Wear 1200 supports Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.2 LE, voice over LTE and GPS.
The Wear 1200 also offers with integrated hardware-based security features like Qualcomm Secure Execution Environment, a hardware cryptographic engine, hardware random number generator and TrustZone to provide enhanced privacy and security protection.
While the Wear 1200 is clearly not designed for smartwatches, you can expect the new chip to power a wide range of wearable devices ranging from trackers for pets and elders to fitness bands.
The Snapdragon Wear 1200 is commercially available and shipping starting today.
Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors
Qualcomm is already a big name in the mobile semiconductor industry and now the company is planning to enter fingerprint scanner business as well. At MWC 2017, the US-based chipmaker announced the next generation ultrasonic fingerprint scanners with the introduction of Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors.
Most OEMs have historically used capacitive fingerprint scanners on their devices. However, if this new announcement from Qualcomm is anything to go by we are looking at some massive improvements on this front.
The new solution utilizes ultrasonic scanning and will enable smartphone OEMs to implement fingerprint sensor under the display, glass or metal. Qualcomm says its fingerprint sensors can detect heart rate and blood flow too, and can even work underwater.
Speaking of Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor for Display, the scanner allows OEMs to implement the fingerprint scanner right under the display panel. However, the solution will only work on OLED panels, leaving LCD panels out of the luck. On the other hand, Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Glass and Metal makes it possible to implement a fingerprint scanner under the glass or metal and can scan through up to 800 µm of covered glass and up to 650 µm of aluminum.
Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Glass and Metal will be compatible with the Snapdragon 660 and 630 chipsets.
Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensor for Display will be available to OEMs for testing in the fourth quarter of 2017. On the other hand, Qualcomm Fingerprint Sensors for Glass and Metal will be available to OEMs later this month with the sensors expected to arrive in commercial devices in the first half of 2018.
Source (1): Qualcomm