When it comes to making processors for Android smartphones, Qualcomm is by far the market leader. MediaTek trails, focussing mainly on budget hardware, and then there are proprietary chips from the likes of Samsung and Huawei, but they aren't used outside of a few of their own products.
Qualcomm has a range of SoCs to cater for mobile devices of any level, but the mid-range market is where the money is right now. With that in mind, the company just announced three new chips: two in the lower mid-range 400 series and one in the higher mid-range 600 series.
All the usual noises accompany the release of the Snapdragon 632, 439, and 429. The new processors are said to deliver "higher performance, better battery life, more efficient designs, impressive graphics and artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities." The gap between the mid-range and Qualcomm's high-end 800 series models has been steadily closing, and these new chips are likely to bring even more premium features to affordable phones.
The Snapdragon 632 will allow for 4K video capture, AI applications, and faster LTE speeds — thanks to an X9 LTE modem. With a Kryo 250 CPU and Adreno 506 GPU, it should offer roughly 40% higher performance than its predecessor, the 626.
For the 439 and 429, an increase in performance of 25% is touted, over the 430 and 425, respectively. The 439 includes an octa-core CPU and Adreno 505 GPU for 20% faster graphics rendering, while the 429 boasts 50% better graphics rendering with the Adreno 504 GPU. Both chips have an X6 LTE modem.
Now we just have to wait for phones to start shipping with the new chips so we can assess their capabilities. That's expected to happen in the second half of 2018.