Qualcomm launches three new Snapdragon processors for mid-range phones

Qualcomm is introducing three new processors designed for phones and tablets: the Snapdragon 429, 439, and 632. Though these are the latest in Qualcomm’s 400 and 600 series processor lines, none of these processors reflect the best of what those lines have to offer — instead, they’re midtier options within each series, offering better performance than some of the entry-level options currently being used.

The Snapdragon 429 and 439 are supposed to be up to 25 percent faster and more battery efficient than the earlier 425 and 430 chips. The 429 supports either a single 16-megapixel camera or dual 8-megapixel cameras and a screen resolution of around 720p; the 439 supports a resolution of around 1080p and can go up to a 21-megapixel camera, or the same 8-megapixel dual camera alternative.

The Snapdragon 632 is supposed to be up to 40 percent faster than the Snapdragon 626. It supports displays of around 1080p resolution, cameras up to 24 megapixels or a dual 13-megapixel arrangement, 4K video capture, and an LTE modem with carrier aggregation for faster speeds.

There isn’t anything particularly thrilling for consumers here, since the chips just offer a mix of features already available elsewhere. The chips are more designed to be compelling for phone manufacturers — they’re all software compatible (including with the prior models mentioned above), and the new 400 series chips are also pin compatible, meaning hardware companies won’t have to do as much work to swap in these new processors.

Phones running the new chips are supposed to start coming out in the second half of the year.

In the US, Qualcomm’s 400 and 600 series chips are generally seen as options for low-end and midrange phones — often phones in the $100 to $400 range. But while the US may be focused on Qualcomm’s high-end Snapdragon 800 chips (which are what you’ll find in top-of-the-line phones like Samsung’s Galaxy devices), Qualcomm points out that its 600 series chips become the high-end tier in many countries, where the 800 line is too expensive. By adding more options to those processor lines, there becomes more room for phone makers to offer models with different features and increasingly more capabilities.