Qualcomm announces the Snapdragon 720G, 662, and 460 SoCs with support for India’s NavIC
In December 2019 at the Snapdragon Tech Summit in Hawaii, Qualcomm announced new mobile platforms – the Snapdragon 865 as well as the Snapdragon 765 and 765G – catering to the top and upper-mid tiers of the smartphones. Those chipsets were, respectively, upgrades to Qualcomm’s flagship SoCs – the Snapdragon 855/855 Plus – and the performance-oriented Snapdragon 730/730G. However, a bigger share of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon user base comes via the mid-range chipsets in the Snapdragon 600 series as well as the entry-level 400 series, especially in price-conscious markets like India, China, and other parts of Southeast Asia. Catering to these expectations, Qualcomm has just unveiled three new chipsets – the Snapdragon 720G, Snapdragon 662, and the Snapdragon 460 – at an event in New Delhi, India as upgrades to their existing lineup for the mid-tier and entry-level chipsets.
The key new features that these chipsets bring include Wi-Fi 6-readiness, Bluetooth 5.1, dual-frequency GNSS for accurate positioning, better power efficiency, and improved AI features. As Qualcomm believes the target group for these chips is far from adopting 5G anytime soon, these new chipsets instead bolster 4G connectivity by adding dual VoLTE support on the Snapdragon 720G, for instance.
Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G
Starting off with the chief chipset being announced today by Qualcomm, we have the Snapdragon 720G, which is evidently an upgrade to the Snapdragon 710/712 mobile platform. The suffix “G” adds the Snapdragon 720G chipset to Qualcomm’s lineup of gaming-focused chipsets with “Elite Gaming” features, which were announced last year along with the Snapdragon 855. The Snapdragon 720G will be manufactured on an 8nm process and uses newer Kryo 465 cores in Arm’s big.LITTLE configuration.
Besides the improvement in performance, the chipset gets a new AI engine that can be leveraged for more efficient gaming, photography, and performance while also improving the responsiveness of the virtual assistants. Meanwhile, the updated Spectra 360L ISP should expedite image processing. The Snapdragon 720G also gets support for up to 120Hz displays
Furthermore, the Snapdragon 720G brings improvements in connectivity by adding support for Wi-Fi 6. The new protocol allows the splitting of the data stream into sub-channels, allowing for more reliable connections. Of course, the feature only works if the router and device are Wi-Fi 6 certified but Qualcomm’s choice does future-proof the SoC. For more accurate positioning, the on-board GNSS chip will support connecting to dual frequencies. Additionally, the chip will be the first to support India’s newly announced satellite positioning system – NavIC.
Lastly, Bluetooth 5.1 and aptX Adaptive should bring high-quality low-latency wireless audio playback to mid-range devices with this chipset.
The table below compares the differences between the Snapdragon 712 and the newly announced 720G:
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 712||Qualcomm Snapdragon 720G|
|GPU||Adreno 616||Adreno 618|
15% better performance and efficiency
|AI||Hexagon 685||Hexagon 692|
5th generation AI Engine
Qualcomm Hexagon Tensor AcceleratorQualcomm Sensing Hub
|Charging||Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+||Qualcomm Quick Charge 4+|
|Manufacturing Process||10nm LPP FinFET||8nm|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 662
Last year, Qualcomm announced the Snapdragon 665 mobile platform as a more power-efficient option between the Snapdragon 660 and the Snapdragon 670. Now, alongside the Snapdragon 720G, we’re seeing another chipset filling the space between the Snapdragon 660 and the 665 and it has been named the Snapdragon 662.
The Snapdragon 662 features a new Spectra 340T ISP which improves imaging in low light scenarios and can add support for augmented reality features via the camera. The chipset gets Wi-Fi 6 support via Qualcomm’s FastConnect 6100 but the LTE modem has been downgraded. Besides Wi-Fi 6, the chipset also gets support for NavIC. Furthermore, there’s Bluetooth 5.1 along with aptX TrueWireless Surround codec support.
The table below compares the Snapdragon 662 with the Snapdragon 660 and the 665:
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 660 (sdm660)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 662||Qualcomm Snapdragon 665 (sm6125)|
|CPU||4 x performance and 4 x efficiency Kryo 260 CPU cores (Up to 2.2GHz)||4 x performance and 4 x efficiency Kryo 260 CPU cores (Up to 2.0GHz)||4 x performance and 4 x efficiency Kryo 260 CPU cores (Up to 2.0GHz)|
|AI||Hexagon 680||Hexagon 683|
Qualcomm Sensing Hub
|Charging||Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0||Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0||Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0|
|Manufacturing Process||14nm FinFET||11nm||11nm FinFET|
Qualcomm Snapdragon 460
Besides the two mid-range chipsets, Qualcomm has also announced the new Snapdragon 460 SoC for entry-level devices and it looks like a successor to the Snapdragon 450. For the first time, Qualcomm has introduced the Kryo branding for the CPUs in the Snapdragon 400 series with new Kryo 240 clusters. Compared to the Snapdragon 450, Qualcomm claims that with the new performance cores in the Snapdragon 460, the CPU gets a massive 70% boost in performance. Further, the chipset has been upgraded with the Adreno 610 GPU – which traditionally belongs to the 600 series – and this brings up to a 60% boost in GPU performance compared to the 450. Overall, Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 460 delivers 2x system performance compared to the Snapdragon 450. It is safe to assume that Qualcomm is gearing users up in the entry-level segment for graphics-heavy or AR-based entertainment and mobile gaming use cases. The new GPU also brings support for the Vulkan graphics API, which is now being adopted by many game developers.
Additionally, the Snapdragon 460 mobile platform brings a new DSP for improvements in AI-related applications, especially associated with voice operations. An improved ISP for smoother and faster image processing also adds support for triple cameras. Further, the new Snapdragon X11 modem increases 4G peak speeds while the chipset also gets support for Wi-Fi 6 and NavIC positioning technology.
The table below compares the features of the Snapdragon 450 and the 460:
|Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 (sdm450)||Qualcomm Snapdragon 460 (SM4250-AA)|
|CPU||8 x Arm Cortex-A53 (up to 2.2GHz)||8 x Kryo 240 cores (up to 2.3GHz)|
|AI||Hexagon 546||Hexagon 683|
Hexagon Vector eXtensions (HVX)
3rd generation AI Engine
Qualcomm Sensing Hub
|Charging||Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0||Qualcomm Quick Charge 3.0|
|Manufacturing Process||14nm LPP||11nm|
The first set of devices with the Snapdragon 720G will be available in the market really soon. Qualcomm announced that devices featuring the Snapdragon 720G will be available within the first quarter of 2020 itself. Officials from the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) recently said that some of the phones to come with NavIC support will be made by Xiaomi in India.
Realme CEO just tweeted out saying they will soon be launching one of the first Snapdragon 720G devices in India soon.
More information on this coming soon! RT if excited pic.twitter.com/MWaHNCHFsT
— Madhav 's Lifestyle (@MadhavSheth1) January 21, 2020
Meanwhile, Xiaomi India’s MD Manu Kumar Jain also announced that they will be bringing new devices with all three of the new chipsets.
For devices based on Snapdragon 662 and Snapdragon 460, there’s a long waiting period and the first batch of devices will not be available until late 2020.
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