Qualcomm unveils its first 64-bit processor, aiming at emerging markets

Qualcomm has announced its new Snapdragon 410 processor, aiming to bring faster data connection and faster performance, thanks to 64-bit technology, to emerging markets. 

The Snapdragon 410 chip has integrated "4G LTE World Mode", meaning it will work with 4G LTE data standards in emerging markets, and essentially all 3G and 4G standards worldwide. Qualcomm called China a prime target for the chip, as the country's 4G LTE network is set to boom when the world's largest carrier China Mobile unveils its 4G LTE network in mid-December. There will even be dual and triple SIM card support on the chip for customers who are constantly traveling. 

Additionally, the Snapdragon 410 chip is the first in the flagship Qualcomm line to bring 64-bit technology along, meaning the powerful Adreno 306 GPU can be used, bringing 1080p video playback and up to a 13-megapixel camera to budget smartphones. Qualcomm is following Apple's lead by leaping to a 64-bit chip, and says it has many more 64-bit chips to come. 

“We are excited to bring 4G LTE to highly affordable smartphones at a sub $150 price point with the introduction of the Qualcomm Snapdragon 410 processor,” said Jeff Lorbeck, senior vice-president and chief operating officer, Qualcomm Technologies, China. “The Snapdragon 410 chipset will also be the first of many 64-bit capable processors as Qualcomm Technologies helps lead the transition of the mobile ecosystem to 64-bit processing.”

The chip brings along the usual smartphone features of Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, FM and NFC functionality, and supports all major navigation constellations. GPS, GLONASS, and China’s new BeiDou. Android, Windows Phone and Firefox are among the supported operating systems for the chip.

In November, Qualcomm saw a negative stock market reaction when sales of its chips for high-end smartphones began to flatten. It illustrated a key point that Qualcomm needed to seriously consider the budget smartphone market, and with the Snapdragon 410 processor, the company appears to be doing so. 

“[ABI Research] is increasingly seeing low cost smartphones appear as a solution for prepaid operators in developed markets,” ABI’s Jeff Orr said in an August research note. “By 2018, ABI Research believes low cost smartphones will account for 44 per cent of all smartphone shipments as the market looks to capture the next billion smartphone users.”

Qualcomm says the Snapdragon 410 processor will be seeded to smartphone manufacturers in the first half of 2014 and released to customers in the second half of 2014.