Every year, flagship phones get more expensive but harder to differentiate from their mid-range and budget counterparts. It's not that those $700+ phones are getting worse but that, as the technology inside them matures, their features get commoditized and brought down to less expensive silicon.
That's why the Snapdragon 670 is exciting. It's the sequel to the Snapdragon 660 we see in devices like the BlackBerry KEY2, but it's much closer to the newly-announced Snapdragon 710, and even the 845, than any of its 600-series predecessors.
To start, it uses the same Kryo 360 cores as the Snapdragon 845, but limits the performance cores to two, running at 2.0GHz, while it falls back on a cluster of six efficiency cores, each running at 1.7GHz. It's also the first 600 chip to use Qualcomm's excellent Adreno 600-series GPU, specifically the Adreno 615. There's a Spectra 250 ISP for enhanced dual camera support, and an X12 modem with support for speeds of up to 600Mbps down and 150Mbps up, as well. Finally, the Hexagon 685 DSP ensures the chip supports the latest AI platforms from Google and others.
For all intents and purposes, this is a Snapdragon 710 running at slower clock speeds. That means you're getting support for the latest gaming, camera, and AI features at roughly half the cost of a Snapdragon 845. Except for the LTE speeds, which are limited to 600Mbps and support neither 4x4 MIMO or 4x carrier aggregation.
Given that the 670 strikes a balance between power and efficiency, it's likely going to offer considerable battery life, especially since it's built on the same 10nm process as the 710 and 845.
Qualcomm says that it is building this chip because of demand by manufacturers, which means there's also demand for such handset price points by consumers. Going back to phone prices, most people don't want to spend $1000 on a device, especially when one that costs half that much can do the job just as well. While no company has made plans for a phone running on the new Snapdragon 670, Qualcomm confirmed that such an announcement is imminent.
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Daniel Bader was a former Android Central Editor-in-Chief and Executive Editor for iMore and Windows Central.