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MWC 2018 | AI for the masses: Qualcomm introduces the Snapdragon 700 Mobile Platform Series

The Snapdragon 700 series will bring AI and premium features to lower price tiers. (Source: Anandtech)
The Snapdragon 700 series will bring AI and premium features to lower price tiers. (Source: Anandtech)
On the occasion of MWC 2018, Qualcomm has announced the Snapdragon 700 Mobile Platform series SoCs tailored towards bringing on-device AI and satisfying the needs of Chinese OEMs for more premium features at lower price tiers.

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Features such as Artificial Intelligence (AI), enhanced visual and audio processing etc. are usually the domain of flagship SoCs. With the exponential proliferation of smartphones in the midrange price tiers, OEMs and SoCs makers are trying to cram the best possible feature sets while trying to drive the prices down at the same time. In this interesting juncture, Qualcomm has announced the arrival of the Snapdragon 700 Mobile Platform Series with an aim to bridge the gap between the budget 600-series and the top tier 800-series chips. The SoC maker has, however, not revealed the specifications or the exact SKUs that would comprise the 700 Series. 

According to Qualcomm, the 700 Series will bring 2x improvements in on-device AI operations compared to the Snapdragon 660. The SoC will boast new architectures for the Hexagon Vector Processor, the Adreno GPU, the Kryo cores, and the Spectra Image Signal Processor (ISP). The improved components should bring in better low-light image capture, AI enabled photo tagging and recognition, and slow motion video capabilities to midrange handsets. The new designs are supposedly 30% more power efficient compared to the Snapdragon 660. The 700 Series also comes with support for Quick Charge 4+ that can charge the phone from 0 to 50% in just 15 minutes. Ultra-fast LTE, support for carrier Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth 5 are some of the touted connectivity features. 

Anandtech reports that the new 700 Series is essentially a chip off the higher-end 600 Series stack. Henceforth, the 600 Series chips with high performing Kryo cores would likely become part of the 700 Series while anything below that based on the ARM Cortex A53 will remain within the 600 Series. Comparisons with the Snapdragon 660 seem to corroborate this fact.

The first 700 Series chips are expected to ship in 1H 2018 implying availability of the first handsets towards the end of Q3 and beginning of Q4 2018. The Qualcomm SoC offering thus starts from the entry-level non-Snapdragon 200 Series, enters into the midrange with the Snapdragon 400, 600, and now 700 Series, and finally tops off with the Snapdragon 800 Series.

Qualcomm is aiming these chips at the upper midrange market, which is humongous in countries like India and China. While the US demographic has mostly sided with flagship devices, mostly due to the advantage of carrier subsidies, smartphone buyers in major Asian markets prefer unlocked devices with the flexibility of changing carriers according to whims and fancies. Qualcomm is targeting this segment as it presents an opportunity to equip Chinese OEMs, whose devices are currently ruling the roost in these markets, with the ability to bring flagship features into more competitive price tiers.

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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2018 02 > AI for the masses: Qualcomm introduces the Snapdragon 700 Mobile Platform Series
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam, 2018-02-27 (Update: 2018-02-27)
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam
Vaidyanathan Subramaniam - News Editor
I am a cell and molecular biologist and computers have been an integral part of my life ever since I laid my hands on my first PC which was based on an Intel Celeron 266 MHz processor, 16 MB RAM and a modest 2 GB hard disk. Since then, I’ve seen my passion for technology evolve with the times. From traditional floppy based storage and running DOS commands for every other task, to the connected cloud and shared social experiences we take for granted today, I consider myself fortunate to have witnessed a sea change in the technology landscape. I honestly feel that the best is yet to come, when things like AI and cloud computing mature further. When I am not out finding the next big cure for cancer, I read and write about a lot of technology related stuff or go about ripping and re-assembling PCs and laptops.