Qualcomm is aiming its two new mobile processors, the 6 Gen 1 and 4 Gen 1, directly at mid-range and budget phones respectively.
Announced today, the Snapdragon 6 Gen 1 promises up to a 35% improvement in gaming performance and is the first Qualcomm chip at this level to support 200Mp photo capture.
The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 meanwhile can handle 108Mp shots, boost 10% in gaming performance, and allow for several days of battery life, according to Qualcomm.
“Both Snapdragon 6 and Snapdragon 4 provide upgrades in their respective series to enable advancements in capture, connectivity, entertainment, and AI,” said Deepu John,senior director, product management, Qualcomm.
“These new mobile platforms help our customers to deliver advanced solutions for consumers.”
Translation: phones are getting better all the time and companies need newer and better smartphone chips to keep their new features working.
Smartphone technology seen in the most expensive phones a few years ago is now trickling down into the best mid-range phones and best budget phones out there. The 6 Gen 1, which joins the naming convention of the similarly weirdly named 8 Gen 1 and 8+ Gen 1, allows phones that use it to take advantage of better HDR support.
At least the new names mean Qualcomm can drop the ‘5G’ tag – 5G is now table stakes for smartphone chips.
The 6 Gen 1 has the 7th generation of Qualcomm’s AI engine that claims to improve AI performance by three times compared to the older Snapdragon 695 5G. This can be used by Android manufacturers to drive clever software features in the camera app or activity tracking, for example.
The chip will also help gameplay maintain at least 60fps and handle all the other under-the-hood things people expect daily from their phones without realising it, like connecting to the latest WiFi 6E network standard – the first time a 6-series Snapdragon supports it.
The Snapdragon 4 Gen 1 is Qualcomm’s first 6nm 4-series chip, which the company says helps it to bring better all-round performance and battery life. It should improve CPU output by 15% and GPU by 10% compared to the Snapdragon 480 5G, though these figures will depend on the rest of the hardware used on specific phones, of course.
The processor should hopefully make using voice assistants like Google Assistants a bit faster, as these experiences can often lag on lower priced phones.
Like the 6 Gen 1, the 4 Gen 1 supports 5G connectivity, a necessity as the world’s newest wireless network standards gets wider coverage.
Qualcomm confirmed Motorola and Vivo, with its iQoo sub-brand, will be using one or both of the chips in upcoming phones. The iQoo Z6 Lite will be one of the first phones available with the 4 Gen 1.
6 Gen 1 devices are expected to ship in Q1 2023, and 4 Gen 1 earlier in Q3 of this year.