Snapdragon 625 SoC powers up mid-range mobile devices

Qualcomm has announced three new additions to its Snapdragon line of mobile SoCs: the Snapdragon 625, 435, and 425. The numbers suggest that these are intended for entry-level mobile devices rather than flagship smartphones, for which Qualcomm offers its more potent 800-series processors.

Still, the Snapdragon 625 is interesting for what it could bring to the crowded middle segment of the smartphone market. Like its big brother, the Snapdragon 820, the 625 is manufactured on a 14-nm FinFET process. As a result, Qualcomm claims to have improved power consumption over last-gen Snapdragons by as much as 35%. The 625 includes eight ARM Cortex-A53 CPU cores running at 2GHz, and comes with an X9 LTE modem. The SoC also supports dual 24-megapixel camera inputs and a variety of post-processing features. Additionally, the 625 supports 4k video recording and playback, and includes a next-generation HEVC codec.

With the Snapdragon 625, Qualcomm also appears to be introducing the Adreno 506 GPU. This graphics processor supports 1900x1200 displays and 4K video recording and playback. Somewhat intriguingly, Qualcomm touts the Adreno 506's support for the delayed Vulkan API. While the company's model-numbering scheme seems to indicate scaled-back performance from the Adreno 530 GPU that users get with the Snapdragon 820, we'll have to wait for phones with these GPUs to get out in the wild to see just how well they perform in the graphics department.

The other two Snapdragon processors appear to be destined for the budget-phone market. The Snapdragon 425, in Qualcomm's words, "ups the entry point" for mobile processors. It houses a quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 CPU and an Adreno 308 GPU, and it'll support "HD displays." With the Snapdragon 435, Qualcomm steps up to an octa-core CPU and an Adreno 505 GPU, and supports 1080p displays. All three processors are expected to appear in commercial devices in the second half of 2016.

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