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Qualcomm 2015 roadmap leaks, 14nm Snapdragon 820 outed

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Qualcomm 2015 roadmap leaks, 14nm Snapdragon 820 outed

While most of tech-dom is in a flurry over the elusive Snapdragon 810, a new leak has already outed the chip’s successor – the Snapdragon 820.

A new image posted by Twitter-based tech leaker ‘Leaksfly’ reveals Qualcomm’s product roadmap for the latter half of 2015.

The top-end chips...

Taking pride of place as the closing hurrah of the list is the Snapdragon 820, Qualcomm’s next flagship chip.

The details reveal that we’re looking at a processor running 64-bit chip architecture and eight TS2 cores.

What’s more, the chip will also rock Adreno 530 graphics (up on the Adreno 430 on the Snapdragon 810).

The Snapdragon 820 will also support super-fast LPDDR4 RAM, which boasts double the bandwidth of LPDDR3 RAM, as well as containing the MDM9X55 LTE-A Cat.10 modem – good for speeds up to 450Mbps.

The final titbit of info on the 820 that can be glaned from this list is that it will be built using Samsung’s hyper-efficient 14nm FinFet manufacturing process.

The leak also mentions the Snapdragon 815, which also uses eight-cores, although this one uses four TS1 cores and four TS2 cores, all mapped out in ARM’s big.LITTLE configuration.

This chip will also handle LPDDR4 RAM, use Adreno 450 graphics, will support Cat.10 LTE carrier aggregation, and will instead be built using a less efficient 20nm manufacturing process.

Related: Intel: Core M is 3 times faster than Snapdragon 805

The mid-range chips...

Right. That’s all the heavy-hitter chips out of the way. Moving onto the mid-rangers – the Snapdragon 620, 625, and 629.

Right now, it seems like there’s no difference between the 625 and 629. Both have eight cores, Adreno 418 graphics, support for LPDDR4 RAM, and a slightly lower-grade MDM9X45 LTE-A Cat. 10 modem. Both will be produced with a 20nm process.

The Snapdragon 620 is a quad-core chip that will be based on Qualcomm’s Taipan architecture, and will be clocked between 2.0 and 2.5GHz, depending on manufacturer whims.

The 620 will use an Adreno 418 GPU, and will offer support for LPDDR3 RAM – not LPDDR4, like the other chips on the list.

The budget chip...

The final entrant is the Snapdragon 616, an assuredly low-end offering that comes with eight Cortex-A53 cores clocked between 1.8GHZ and 2.2GHz.

The 616 will use Adreno 408 graphics, tout an LTE-A Cat.6 modem, and will be built using a 28nm manufacturing process by HKMG.

Related: Samsung mystery device has 4K display, Snapdragon 810 chip

So the real question is this – when we will be able to get our hands on the new Snapdragon 820?

Well Qualcomm laid out its plans for the Snapdragon 810 last year, and it’s only now appearing in flagship devices.

Considering reports suggest the firm is still struggling with overheating issues on the 810, we’d wager that we won’t actually see the 820 in handsets until 2016 at the earliest.

That being said, we’ll probably see more details trickle out regarding this high-end chip in the coming months, ahead of an official unveiling later this year.

What's all the fuss about Qualcomm chips?

If all of the above was jibberish to you, then here's the skinny of it - Qualcomm is a US-based semiconductor company that makes a series of smartphone chips called 'Snapdragon'.

These Snapdragon chips appear in a big chunk of Android smartphones, facing off against Apple's own custom-built A-series chips. But what actually is a Snapdragon chip?

Your desktop computer at home has a motherboard, upon which you put all the various bits and pieces that make it run - a central processing unit, a memory board, a hard disk drive, a graphics card.

Qualcomm specialises in system-on-a-chip (SoC) units however, which sees some of those components piled onto a single chip.

Related: Qualcomm announces chip to create truly smart connected lightbulbs

Let's look at the newly leaked Snapdragon 820, for instance. It has its own eight-core 64-bit processor, as well as a built in graphics processing unit - that's the Adreno 530 - plus a modem that handles cellular data.

All of this is piled onto a single chip, designed with form factor in mind for the constrained chassis of smartphones.

The Snapdragon 820 looks to be Qualcomm's most powerful chip, and so will likely appear on the big hitter smartphones of 2016.

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