Back at the end of February, Qualcomm revealed that it was working on an entirely new 700 series of SoCs, meant to bring many higher-end features like the Kryo core architecture and Custom DSPs to a more accessible price—and partly to replace the Snapdragon 660, which didn't quite belong in the 600 series. Today Qualcomm has announced the first of the chips for this new series: The Snapdragon 710 mobile platform. 

The Snapdragon 710 has Qualcomm's X15 LTE modem, Hexagon 685 DSP, Spectra 250 dual ISP, Aqstic Audio, and custom Kryo 360 CPU cores, all paired with its Adreno 616 graphics. On paper, it compares favorably with the company's high-end offerings like the 845 in the Galaxy S9 and OnePlus 6. We'll have to see what it's like in person, but I'd bet it probably ends up resting somewhere between the 820 and 835.

The SoC core configuration is 2+6, with two high-performance 2.2GHz CPUs and six smaller efficiency-focused 1.7GHz cores. Precise architecture for each isn't known yet. There's also something Qualcomm is calling a multi-core AI Engine, but that's almost certainly just the company's continued name for its Hexagon DSP and the frameworks and APIs that support it.

Qualcomm advertises that the 710 will have up to two times the performance in AI-related workflows compared to the Snapdragon 660—which is the spiritual forefather of the new 700 series. With the high-end Hexagon DSP, Adreno graphics, and Kryo custom architecture, it's believable. The 710 also supports Qualcomm's Snapdragon Neural Processing SDK and frameworks like Tensorflow and Caffe/Caffe2.

The Spectra 250 dual ISP supports resolutions up to 32MP (20MP for dual-camera configurations). 4K HDR playback is also available on the Snapdragon 710, so we should see this SoC in hardware with decent displays.

As always, Qualcomm also claims the 710 will make some major improvements over the  previous-gen 660 when it comes to battery life, with 20-40% power savings in video and gaming workloads. Hyperbole aside, with the improved performance and 10nm node, at least some improvements should be present.

The new X15 modem sounds like it's supposed to sit just under the X16 from last year's Snapdragon 835, and based on the numbers provided, it fits. The X15 supports up to 800 Mbps down (200 Mbps less than the X16), LAA (License-Assisted Access), 4x4 MIMO for LTE, and 2x2 Wi-Fi. It doesn't beat the latest X20 modem in the Snapdragon 845, but it still provides more speed than most of us should need.

The 710 is a big step for Qualcomm, and the company is quick to point it out. This SoC is the first time many of the high-end features like the Adreno 6 series GPUs, 4x4 MIMO, and 10nm node have been used by the company outside the 800 series. Let's just hope the new SoC ends up in some good phones.

The new Snapdragon 710 is available to OEMs today and should be in consumer-facing products in this quarter.

Press Release

Qualcomm Snapdragon 710 Mobile Platform Brings In-Demand Premium Features to a
New Tier of Smartphones
—Designed to Support Next-Generation Artificial Intelligence and Superior Performance for
Exceptional User Experiences—

BEIJING — May 24, 2018 — Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm
Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM), has introduced the new Qualcomm® Snapdragon™ 710
Mobile Platform, built on 10nm process technology. The Snapdragon 710 is designed with
highly efficient architectures for artificial intelligence, featuring a multi-core AI Engine and
neural network processing capabilities. The Snapdragon 710 is the first mobile platform in the
new 700-tier portfolio, designed to exceed what is expected from today’s high-tier mobile
experiences by bringing select premium-tier features to a broader audience.
“The Snapdragon 710 Mobile Platform is the first in the newly defined and highly significant
700-tier, offering technologies and features previously only available in our premium-tier mobile
platforms,” said Kedar Kondap, vice president, product management, Qualcomm Technologies,
Inc. “By incorporating key AI capabilities and performance advancements, the Snapdragon 710
is designed to transform our customers products into the ultimate personal assistant, enhancing
critical everyday consumer experiences, such as high-end camera features that will benefit from
on-device high-speed AI processing, without sacrificing battery life.”
The Snapdragon 710 Mobile Platform provides new architectures, engineered to result in
significant performance improvements over the 600-tier in the following areas:
AI: The new platform transforms the smartphone into a customized experience for users
across camera and voice, powered by a multi-core AI Engine, delivering up to 2X overall
performance improvements in AI applications, as compared to Snapdragon 660. Utilizing
AI capabilities, the Snapdragon 710 makes it virtually effortless to capture and share
contextually-aware photos and videos and personalize voice and speech patterns for more
natural interactions. Through heterogeneous computing, the Snapdragon 710 Mobile
Platform’s newly enhanced architectures, including the Qualcomm® Hexagon™ DSP,
Qualcomm® Adreno™ Visual Processing subsystem and Qualcomm® Kryo™ CPU, are
engineered to work harmoniously to run on-device AI applications quickly, intuitively
and efficiently.
Capture: The new Qualcomm Spectra™ 250 ISP supports enhancements in capturing
professional-grade quality photos and videos with superior low light photography, noise
reduction, fast autofocus, image stabilization, smooth zoom and real-time bokeh effects.
The Qualcomm Spectra 250 ISP is designed to deliver super resolutions with up to 32MP
single ISP and 20MP dual ISP. Additionally, the AI Engine in the Snapdragon 710
supports smooth, speedy video style transfer, deep portrait modes and Face ID / Unlock
with active depth sensing.
Display: The Snapdragon 710 features 4K HDR playback for viewing HDR videos and
apps – also a first outside the premium 800-tier. The addition of 4K HDR playback brings
greater brightness, wider color gamut and color depth to the Snapdragon 710, resulting in
enhanced visual quality when viewing 4K HDR supported content over the most popular
video streaming services.
Connectivity: The Snapdragon 710 features the new Snapdragon X15 LTE modem, a
Category 15 LTE modem that supports up to 800 Mbps download speeds. It brings some
of the most advanced 4G LTE technologies to the 700-tier, including 4x4 MIMO
technology (on up to 2 aggregated carriers) for up to 70% faster download speeds in
weak signal conditions, and License-Assisted Access (LAA) for faster speeds in crowded
places, compared to devices that don’t support 4x4 MIMO.
The Snapdragon 710 also offers an advanced suite of wireless technologies including
cutting edge Wi-Fi features and enhanced Bluetooth 5 multicast audio with support for
ultra-low power wireless earbuds.
Performance and Battery: The platform’s new architectures are engineered to deliver
superior power efficiency, long-lasting battery life and an overall enhanced user
experience. Due to enhancements to the Adreno 616 Visual Processing Subsystem
architecture, Snapdragon 710-based devices can expect to see up to 40% reduction in
power consumption for both gaming and 4K HDR video playback, as well as a 20%
reduction in power consumption when streaming video, when compared to Snapdragon
660. Additionally, the new Kryo 360 architecture, built on ARM® Cortex™ technology,
is optimized to support up to a 20% overall uplift in performance, 25% faster web
browsing and 15% faster app launch times, compared to the Snapdragon 660.
With the latest Qualcomm® Quick Charge™ 4+ technology, users can get a 50% battery
charge within 15 minutes.
The Snapdragon 710 Mobile Platform is available today and is expected to be found in consumer
devices in the second quarter of 2018.
About Qualcomm
Qualcomm invents breakthrough technologies that transform how the world connects and
communicates. When we connected the phone to the Internet, the mobile revolution was born.
Today, our inventions are the foundation for life-changing products, experiences, and industries.
As we lead the world to 5G, we envision this next big change in cellular technology spurring a
new era of intelligent, connected devices and enabling new opportunities in connected cars,
remote delivery of health care services, and the IoT — including smart cities, smart homes, and
wearables. Qualcomm Incorporated includes our licensing business, QTL, and the vast majority
of our patent portfolio. Qualcomm Technologies, Inc., a subsidiary of Qualcomm Incorporated,
operates, along with its subsidiaries, all of our engineering, research and development functions,
and all of our products and services businesses, including, the QCT semiconductor business. For
more information, visit Qualcomm’s website, OnQ blog, Twitter and Facebook pages.
Qualcomm, Snapdragon, Hexagon, Adreno, Kryo, and Qualcomm Spectra are trademarks of Qualcomm
Incorporated, registered in the United States and other countries. Quick Charge is a trademark of
Qualcomm Incorporated.
Qualcomm Snapdragon, Qualcomm Hexagon, Qualcomm Adreno, Qualcomm Kryo, Qualcomm Spectra
and Qualcomm Quick Charge are products of Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries.