Qualcomm Intros 8-Core Snapdragon Mobile SoC
The chip maker at Mobile World Congress ramps up its high-end and premium mobile chip lines with new releases, including the eight-core 615.Qualcomm, the top chip maker for mobile devices, is expanding its portfolio with an eight-core 64-bit offering for high-end smartphones and tablets and a follow-up to its premium Snapdragon 800 lineup, which was introduced last year. Qualcomm officials at the Mobile World Congress 2014 on Feb. 24 unveiled the Snapdragon 615, which officials called the industry's first commercially available eight-core system-on-a-chip (SoC) that includes 64-bit and integrated Long Term Evolution (LTE) wireless capabilities. At the same time, the company announced the Snapdragon 610, another 64-bit chip with integrated LTE that offers four cores. Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 801 offers several upgrades over the 800 SoC, including support for larger and faster camera sensors to offer improved image quality, graphics and gaming capabilities; faster SD card memory; and overall better performance, according to officials. The company's announcements come at a show where chip makers are expected to show off their latest wares in an increasingly competitive mobile device space. Intel, which is trying to muscle its way into the mobile device space, rolled out its latest 64-bit Atom "Merrifield" SoC lineup and its newest LTE wireless communications platform.
The eight-core Snapdragon 615 gives Qualcomm a leg up in an industry where most mobile chips are 32-bit capable and sport fewer cores. Increasing the number of cores in a chip is a way to increase performance without significantly increasing power consumption. The case for high numbers of cores is clear in the server space, and to a lesser extent in PCs. Mobile devices are increasingly being used for a wide range of computing tasks, and the trend in this area also is toward more cores.