Qualcomm Releases New Midrange Processors Equipped With High-End Features

Qualcomm on Wednesday unveiled four new Snapdragon processors in an attempt to trickle its high-end chip premium features down its midrange mainstream mobile chip product line.

The Snapdragon 620, 618, 425 and 415 processors will equip a wide range of mobile devices with high-end features, like 4K video capture and LTE, previously only seen in the company's 800-tier series.

"Qualcomm is amping up their competitive game, making it difficult for competitors to meet those bars," said Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst for Moor Insights and Strategy. "What it means at the industry level is that even lower-priced smartphones have really good experiences."

[Related: A72 Mobile Processor Tightens Pressure On Intel]

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The Snapdragon 620 and 618 processors, part of the Snapdragon 600 series, will boost higher levels of performance with integrated 64-bit ARM Cortex A-72 CPU cores and the X8 LTE modem. These processors will feature qualities previously seen in the 800 tier, such as 4K video capture and playback, advanced Wi-Fi connectivity and Qualcomm Adreno graphics.

ARM Holdings' 64-bit A-72 Cortex mobile processor was shown at the beginning of February, boasting 75 percent energy reduction and graphic upgrades.

Meanwhile, the Snapdragon 425 and 415 processors will feature octa-core CPUs, enforcing X8 LTE connectivity and premium camera, audio and multimedia aspects, the first to do so in the Snapdragon 400 series.

"It has always been Qualcomm Technologies' strategy to introduce industry-leading features first at the premium Snapdragon 800 tier design point, and then scale these features into our Snapdragon 600, 400 and 200 products, so that we can help our customers deliver great user experiences to cost-conscious consumers," said Alex Katouzian, senior vice president of product management for Qualcomm Technologies, in a release.

Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors are already featured in a variety of smartphones and tablets, including the HTC One, Amazon Fire HDX 8.9, Sony Xperia Z3, Motorola's New Moto X and Samsung Galaxy Note 4.

The new chips set the San Diego-based processor company up to make a splash in the mobile smartphone market.

For Moorhead, the move means that entry-level smartphones can now be equipped with high-end features to attract more consumers, and the midrange phone market will be intensified.

"This is an incentive for people using feature phones to now step up and pay more money for smartphones, since most people at low price points won't pay exceptionally more," said Moorhead. "While I don't see this as expanding the market for midrange phones, it ignites interest in entry-level smartphones. Around the world, a lot of people have been using feature phones, particularly in Southeast Asia, China and India. This will bring new levels of excitement to those areas."

With Mobile World Congress just a week away, Moorhead added that the move would give original equipment manufacturers, like Samsung, LG and Sony, a focus as they unveil new smartphones and other devices.

According to Qualcomm, commercial devices featuring the four processors will be available in the second half of 2015.