Qualcomm’s new Snapdragon 808 and 810 SoCs bring 64-bit to Android’s future flagships

Daniel Bader

April 7, 2014 12:21pm

So far, we’ve seen Qualcomm announce three 64-bit systems-on-a-chip, the 410, 610 and 615. All of these, though unreleased, target the mid- to upper-mid crowd, but today’s announcement of the Snapdragon 808 and 810 reinforce Qualcomm’s commitment to the high-end.

The chips won’t launch until sometime in 2015, so don’t get your hopes up too high, but when they arrive they’ll be among the first supporting ARM’s new ARMv8 instruction set, along with newer technologies like CAT6/7 LTE and 3x20Mhz carrier aggregation, among others.

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First, what these are not: they’re not custom Krait designs like the current lineup of 32-bit chips from Qualcomm. While there are customizations within, the 808 sports a standard makeup of Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 chips in a big.LITTLE design. The major difference between the two is that the 808 is a hexa-core (2 x A57 + 4 x A53) while the 810 is octa-core (4 x A57 + 4 x A53) and the latter sports a faster Adreno 430 GPU and LPDDR4 RAM.

Built on a new 20nm manufacturing process, the A57 chipset, which is a 64-bit evolution of the Cortex-A15, stands to be some 20% more power hungry than its 32-bit counterpart, but that should be offset by its new MP.

Ultimately, though these processors will certainly delight users when they appear in devices in mid-2015, what’s most interesting is that these are not next-generation Krait products, but template ARM cores being used with existing Qualcomm baseband technology (albeit next-generation). Qualcomm will announce its future 64-bit plans later in the year, but the Snapdragon 808 and 810, along with the 410, 610 and 615, appear to be stopgaps on the way to another Krait-like divergence from the standard microarchitecture narrative.

  • Raphael Del Castillo

    awww hoping this would be on the note 4. ahah. Maybe the note 5 lol

  • Chris Dunphy

    Not just Android flagships mind you, I am fairly certain we will be seeing these chips in some nice Windows Phone devices as well 🙂

    • RobPilates

      Was reported at wmpoweruser and wpcentral. Absolutely coming to Windows Phone. Daniel Bader please change this headline.

    • It’s Me

      It will likely benefit Windows users faster than Android users, given MS has all the support in place for 64bit already and has been through similar transitions before.

      Of course, that’s assuming it arrives in Windows phones at the same time.

    • danbob999

      Windows phones are always one generation behind Android in terms of SoC.

    • It’s Me

      Pity…because they would benefit more quickly if given the same timing.

  • stevedion

    Is it just me, but i’m starting to feel a little uncomfortable with this tech only inches away from my privates…

    • KrispyInTO

      You got a weird fetish or something?

  • Martin Chan

    I thought none of the current operating systems minus iOS run 64.

    • It’s Me

      Android, at low level, is just Linux and so is quite capable of running on 64bit. They might have to update to include libs or runtimes that were omitted for space constraints, but it shouldn’t be a massive problem. More concerning will be issues related to drivers and the dalvik VM…and ART will not be a magic bullet from the app side.

  • Jakob

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but did people not get all ‘this is stupid’ about the 64bit chips that went into the 5S?

    I may be missing something here.

    • ChrisPollard77

      At this point, yeah, there isn’t much real world advantage to the 64 bit chips. No phones are addressing more than 4GB of RAM yet. And at a 20% power hit, heck yeah it’s stupid right now – as a marketing tool. From a tech angle, it isn’t. The “this is stupid” comments were mostly directed at using 64 bit as a MARKETING PLOY. As in “Apple is the first to bring 64 bit to mobile” is STUPID. Because it doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter what OS is on it right now.

    • It’s Me

      If addressing more memory was the only advantage, then you would have a point. Fortunately, there are other advantages that are immediately gained besides more addressable memory. More memory is the biggest advantage, no question, but to call it a gimmick or a marketing ploy shows a misunderstanding of the subject.

      More and wider registers means faster data access. More contiguous memory means less memory fragmentation, regardless of if you have more than 4GB addressable or not.

      Now, can current phones and mobile OSes and runtimes really take full advantage of 64 bit? No. Is it is gimmick? Only to the luddites. At the very least it allows the vendors to begin the task of moving to systems that can fully support it,so it plays an important role of laying the foundations…at a very minimum. So, no, not at all a gimmick.

    • Anaron

      It definitely isn’t a gimmick. And the sooner 64-bit becomes the new standard, the better it is for 64-bit software support.

    • It’s Me

      Exactly. At the worst, laying the foundation early means faster and better support overall…and that is if you ignore the already tangible benefits.

      It bothers me when people call something a gimmick just because they don’t grasp the technology or issues at hand.

    • alphs22

      Surely you realize that there are more advantages to 64-bit processing than just the ability to use >4GB of RAM.