Qualcomm unveils 64-bit Snapdragon 610 and 615 chips

Qualcomm, in its quest to meet Apple’s A7 chip by offering vendors 64-bit options for their Android devices, has announced the quad-core Snapdragon 610 and octa-core Snapdragon 615 today, both based on ARM’s Cortex-A53 architecture.

Unlike the company’s Krait design, which is far more customized than the ARM template designs of Samsung, Huawei and Nvidia (though the company’s upcoming dual-core K1 is a custom beauty), the Snapdragon 610 and 615 are very similar to the base Cortex-A53 design. They are differentiated by their numbers of cores: the 610 has four and the 615 has eight, though unlike big.LITTLE they aren’t made up of two separate types of chips; these are identical core “clusters” clocked at different speeds.

These 64-bit chips will be coming to market in Q3 of this year, regardless of where Android sits in that configuration. While it’s widely expected that Google will announce a 64-bit compatible follow-up to KitKat at Google I/O in June, it’s possible that they will wait until next year, or at least until it’s developer-ready.

To differentiate them from the recently-announced 64-bit Snapdragon 410, Qualcomm is outfitting both new 600-series SoCs with a new Adreno 405 GPU, which should be a step-up from the Adreno 330 in the current crop of high-end chips. If you recall, Qualcomm announced the 400-series Adreno GPU alongside the multimedia-focused Snapdragon 805, which is still based on Krait and only a 32-bit chip.

In terms of connectivity, these processors boast integrated LTE via Qualcomm’s RF360 front end solution. Considering the Snapdragon 800 is already on its way out, the Snapdragon 610 and 615 should become the de facto mid-range product of the second half of 2014, early 2015.

In the meantime, Qualcomm’s newly-unveiled Snapdragon 801 chip is destined for a phone launching next month — the