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The new Snapdragon 670 brings some flagship AI smarts to mid-tier devices

Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 670 processor will bring faster machine learning to more people through mid-range phones.

Published onAugust 9, 2018

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  • Qualcomm has announced the new Snapdragon 670 chipset.
  • The processor includes the Snapdragon 845’s Hexagon digital signal processor for improved machine-learning capabilities.
  • The Snapdragon 670 brings up to 15 percent better CPU performance and 25 percent better graphics rendering on the GPU when compared to the 660.

Qualcomm has quietly announced (h/t: ZDNet) the Snapdragon 670 chipset, aimed at mid-range smartphones. This processor succeeds the Snapdragon 660 chip used in phones such as the BlackBerry Key2, Nokia 7 Plus, and the Xiaomi Mi A2.

While the Snapdragon 670 touts better general performance compared to the 660, the main differentiator is the inclusion of a more powerful Qualcomm AI engine.

Tapping into the power of the CPU, GPU, and the Hexagon 685 digital signal processor (also found on the Snapdragon 845), the AI engine is said to offer 1.8 times the performance of the Snapdragon 660. Qualcomm says the improved AI smarts will deliver better photo quality thanks to “automated setting adjustments”, as well as improved voice recognition.

The AI engine also supports machine learning frameworks such as Google’s TensorFlow and TensorFlow Lite, Facebook’s Caffe and Caffe2, the Open Neural Network Exchange, and Qualcomm’s homegrown Neural Processing SDK and Hexagon Neural Network.

The Snapdragon 670 differs from the three-month-old Snapdragon 710 by aiming for mid-range devices rather than the 710’s upper mid-range/sub-flagship bracket. But just like the 710, the Snapdragon 670 uses Qualcomm’s Kryo 360 CPU cores and uses a 10nm LPP manufacturing process to remain power efficient.

The Snapdragon 670 consists of eight cores in a 2+6 arrangement, much like the 710. Two cores clocked at 2Ghz are paired with six energy-efficient cores that reach up to 1.75Ghz. According to Qualcomm, this combination allows the Snapdragon 670 to deliver up to 15 percent faster CPU performance than last year’s 660.

Read: Xiaomi Mi A2 vs Nokia 7 Plus specs – Battle of the Snapdragon 660, Android One phones

To help with graphics rendering, Qualcomm includes the Adreno 615 GPU. The GPU delivers up to 25 percent faster rendering than the Snapdragon 660, while also dishing out support for full HD+ and 2,560 x 1,600 screens.

The Snapdragon 670 also includes Qualcomm’s X12 LTE modem and the Spectra 250 image signal processor. With the modem, phones should be able to reach download speeds up to 600Mbps and 150Mbps up. The image processor adds support for a 25MP single camera or two 16MP cameras while allowing for 4K video capture at 30 fps.

Lastly, smartphones powered by the Snapdragon 670 will be able to use Qualcomm’s Aqstic and aptX audio tech, Quick Charge 4.0+, and Bluetooth 5.0.

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According to ZDNet, Qualcomm has already started sending the Snapdragon 670 processor out to smartphone manufacturers and we should expect to see phones running the mid-range processor before the end of 2018.

Of course, the Qualcomm chip that also has us excited is the upcoming processor made for wearables. Not much is known about the chip just yet, but there are rumors that Google might release a new Wear OS watch at its October event running the new processor. We will have to wait until September 10 to learn more about it.

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