Qualcomm, the chipmaker behind the processors in billions of smartphones, tablets, and internet of things devices around the world, today announced the Snapdragon 670, a middle-of-the-road system-on-die with a trick up its sleeve: enhanced artificial intelligence (AI) performance.
“Our Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 Series Mobile Platforms are popular with our customers because of their support for long battery life, superior connectivity, and easy adaptability,” Qualcomm said in a statement. “The Snapdragon 670 Mobile Platform is the latest addition to the family and is engineered to deliver cutting-edge technologies to mainstream smartphone buyers who want to make the most of what their Snapdragon-powered device has to offer.”
The Snapdragon 670 — which slots just below the Snapdragon 710 in Qualcomm’s lineup and directly succeeds last year’s Snapdragon 660 — packs a lot under the hood. It’s built on a power-efficient 10nm LPP process, like the 710, and it’s the first in the 600 series to feature Qualcomm’s Kryo 360 processor.
The aforementioned Kryo 360 is a two-core, 2GHz chip paired with six low-power, energy-efficiency cores (based on ARM’s Cortex A75 and A55 designs) that clock up to 1.7GHz. Qualcomm claims it’s 15 percent faster than the Snapdragon 660’s eight-core architecture.
The graphics card on tap, meanwhile, is the Adreno 616, which Qualcomm said delivers 25 percent and 35 percent speedier graphics rendering than the Snapdragon 660 and 710, respectively. It can drive displays exceeding 1080p in resolution (but not Quad HD, unlike the Snapdragon 710’s GPU), and, in tandem with the 670’s Hexagon DSP coprocessor, accelerate AI workloads.
The CPU, GPU, and Hexagon DSP comprise Qualcomm’s AI Engine, and the chipmaker said it’s much improved in the Snapdragon 670 — altogether, it’s capable of up to 1.8 times the AI performance of the Snapdragon 660. And like previous incarnations of the AI Engine, it’s fully compatible with machine learning frameworks such as Facebook’s Caffe and Caffe2, Google’s TensorFlow and TensorFlow Lite, the Open Neural Network Exchange (ONNX), and Qualcomm’s homegrown Neural Processing SDK and Hexagon Neural Network (NN).
“As AI grows more popular with mobile users, we’ve focused on developing processors that offer essential support for next-generation AI features like smart camera settings,” Qualcomm said. “The [Snapdragon 670’s] always-on, always-sensing [Hexagon DSP] boasts efficient sensor management abilities, ideal for computing algorithms that make AI-powered apps.”
As for the rest of the Snapdragon 670’s onboard components, they’re largely identical to what’s found in the 710. There’s Qualcomm’s X12 LTE modem, which delivers upload speeds up to 150Mbps and download speeds of around 600Mbps (unlike the Snapdragon 710, the 670 doesn’t have 4×4 MIMO), and the Spectra 250 image signal processor (ISP), which supports single cameras up to 25MP (or dual 16MP cameras) and captures videos up to 4K at 30 fps.
Other highlights include improved image stabilization and slow-motion video capture, plus zero shutter lag and hybrid autofocus; Bluetooth 5.0 connectivity; high-speed charging courtesy of Quick Charge 4+, which can recharge a typical smartphone from zero to 50 percent in about 15 minutes; and Qualcomm’s suite of Aqstic and aptX audio technologies.
The Snapdragon 670 has already been seeded to Qualcomm’s original equipment manufacturers (OEMs), the company said, and the first few devices powered by the processor will launch in 2018.