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Snapdragon 460 Takes 4+4 to Low End

February 11, 2020

Author: Bob Wheeler

Despite rapid predicted growth in 5G, LTE will represent 85–90% of 2020 phone shipments. Pausing the 5G hype, Qualcomm launched new Snapdragon LTE processors in its 7-, 6-, and 4-series. The new chips should appear in phones with unsubsidized prices ranging from about $150 to $400. They bring important updates including faster CPUs and GPUs, AI acceleration, and the latest connectivity standards.

The new Snapdragon 460 is intended to replace the aging 450, bringing the first 4+4 CPU configuration to the low-end 4-series. The new Snapdragon 662 is most similar to the recent 665, but its modem handles lower data rates. The Snapdragon 720G sits below the 5G-enabled Snapdragon 765 in Qualcomm’s product stack and derives from the 730G. The three new processors share many features, including Wi-Fi 6 and industry-first support for India’s Navic GNSS. They integrate Hexagon DSPs for AI acceleration as well as a low-power sensor hub for always-on processing. Other improvements include VP9 video playback and Bluetooth 5.1 with AptX audio.

The Snapdragon line comprises about 20 models in active supply, enabling Qualcomm to fine-tune features and prices for various geographies. The new 460 stands out as a major upgrade for its price tier, whereas the 662 and 720G are more derivative. As a whole, the refresh modernizes LTE phones that will continue to serve most of the market for years to come, particularly in India, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East and Africa (MEA). Combined, those regions should have more than two billion LTE subscribers by 2022, and the technology will hold share longer than in more-developed economies. Facing low-cost competitors including MediaTek and Unisoc, Qualcomm is fighting to hold its share of that big pie.

Subscribers can view the full article in the Microprocessor Report.

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