Qualcomm had announced earlier to expect the first 64-bit ARMv8 to start shipping in 2014, and they have duly announced one. A few days ago, they officially announced the Snapdragon S410.
Many are still sceptical for the need of a 64-bit System-on-Chip (SoC) for Android and iOS devices alike, but as Anandtech puts it, it is mainly due to Apple doing so.
Given that there’s no 64-bit Android available at this point, most of the pressure to go to 64-bit in the Android space is actually being driven by the OEMs who view 64-bit support as a necessary checkbox feature at this point thanks to Apple’s move with the A7. Combine that with the fact that the most ready 64-bit IP from ARM is the Cortex A53 (successor to the Cortex A5/A7 line), and all of the sudden it makes sense why Qualcomm’s first 64-bit mobile SoC is aimed at the mainstream market (Snapdragon 400 instead of 600/800).
The S410 SoC comprises four Cortex A53 cores running at anywhere from 1.2 GHz to 1.4 GHz, and an Adreno 306 GPU. Aside from the main CPU and GPU, the S410 also adds support for many ‘high-end’ features. The first is LTE, which Qualcomm graciously states is a feature it wants to bring to all product tiers. In particular, this next-gen connectivity comes with multimode and multiband support, ensuring that many devices carrying the chip will work on LTE networks around the globe (a feature we assume will be up to the OEM to enable). This means no more scrounging around Amazon and eBay for models that support LTE bands in your area.
In addition, the S410 will also have support for dual- and triple-SIM devices, with 1080p video playback, up to a 13MP camera, GPS/GLONASS, WiFI, NFC and Bluetooth. It’ll also be compatible with Android, Windows Phone and Firefox OS, and is geared toward “high-volume” devices in emerging markets which sell for under $150.
Hence, the best fit for Qualcomm’s aim seems to be the Motorola Moto G, which currently uses the 32-bit Cortex A7. Looking at how manufacturers and silicon producers operate, it will not be surprising to see a Moto G reboot next year packing the S410. Adding LTE and four Cortex A53s would really make that the value smartphone to beat.