Qualcomm announces 64-bit Snapdragon, following Apple and Intel into high-speed phones

By Peter Gothard
10 Dec 2013 View Comments
Qualcomm Snapdragon

Chip maker Qualcomm has announced it is working on a 64-bit version of its Snapdragon integrated processor, which it is calling the Snapdragon 410.

However, unlike Apple's A7 - found in the iPhone 5 - and the Bay Trail processor Intel is currently working on, the Snapdragon 410 is not being aimed at premium-priced smartphones and mobile devices – at least initially – but rather at phones and tablets beneath the $150 mark.

Further reading

Typically, 64-bit processors are seen as enabling smartphones to offer features typically available in desktops and laptops, facilitating RAM past the 4GB mark, and faster graphics processing.

However, Qualcomm's strategy is to create a 64-bit standard for the lower end of the market, with a focus on useful features such as integrated LTE.

Qualcomm also plans to bring LTE capability to each of the company's subsequent chips, effectively making 4G a possibility across the world, with any level of handset.

Qualcomm's move to 64-bit is in direct contradiction with comments made by then-CMO Anand Chandrasekher in October about the iPhone 5's move to 64-bit.

Accusing Apple of "doing a marketing gimmick", Chandrasekher said that there is "zero benefit a consumer gets" from 64-bit.

"Predominantly... you need it for memory addressability beyond 4GB. That's it. You don't really need it for performance, and the kinds of applications that 64-bit get used in mostly are large, server-class applications," said the exec, who was swiftly removed from his CMO position to "explore other initiatives" after the comments were made.

The Snapdragon 410 is expected to begin launching on phones in the second half of 2014, though this window has been quoted specifically for the sub-$150 phones that seem to be kicking off the initiative.

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