While flagships like the Galaxy S8 and Google's Pixel are great, cheaper phones are just as important to the Android ecosystem. Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 660 and 630 systems on a chip are upgrades to last year's midrange Snapdragon 652 and 625, respectively, and offer more power, more features, faster connectivity, and, perhaps most importantly, more battery life.
The chipsets feature the X12 LTE modem — the same 600 Mbps modem that's in Verizon and Sprint iPhones, as well as in the Snapdragon 820. Bluetooth 5 is now default, and the 660 has 2 x 2 MIMO Wi-Fi as well.
Both platforms have Qualcomm Quick Charge 4, specialized chips for machine learning, and improved camera processing. Of course, processor and GPU speeds have been bumped as well — Qualcomm says the 660 has a 20 percent CPU speed improvement over its predecessor, while the 630's CPU is 10 percent faster.
Still, battery life is probably the biggest win. For instance, Qualcomm says you should see 50 to 75 percent lower power consumption for some location services, while the download power consumption on Wi-Fi is down 60 percent on the 660 over the last generation.
Both the 660 and 630 support up to 8GB of RAM, and were built with a 14nm process. The 660 has an eight-core Kryo 260 CPU and an Adreno 512 GPU, while the 630 has eight Cortex A53 cores and an Adreno 508 GPU.
Qualcomm says the 660 is now shipping, while the 630 will ship later this month — there's no word on what actual devices are going to pick these up first, but we should know more soon.